Is There Any Point of Getting Diagnosed if You Don’t Want Drugs for Treatment?
So I can’t quite believe that a question such as this even exists therefore I can’t quite believe I’m taking time out of my busy day to write a post and an answer to such a question. I saw this on Twitter, via Reddit or something (I’ve never used Reddit in my life) and it angered me so much that I felt compelled to write something about it. If you know me, you will know I rarely feel ‘angered’ to the point of going full on blog rant about something (the last time I did this was my post on What’s the Point of Book Reviews?) but this is something that needs to be addressed.
Is there any point of getting diagnosed if you don’t want drugs for treatment? Before I give you a firm ‘yes‘ or ‘no‘ answer, let me just tell you a little bit of my back-story (in case you wasn’t aware – if you’d like to read about it in more detail you can here). I was diagnosed with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) in around 2012 after a weird but awful bout of the flu which left me bed bound for 2 weeks. I got better but something wasn’t right and my thought processes were all out. I couldn’t get back to normal and I began freaking out and getting anxious about everything. 4 years down the line, I still have anxiety but I can manage it. I don’t necessarily get anxious about the same sort of stuff I did – it fluctuates massively – but it’s still there to some degree. But I’m okay. I may sound very nonchalant about it here but trust me, it has changed my life and turned it completely upside down.
Now back to the original question: Is there any point of getting diagnosed if you don’t want drugs for treatment? Well, yes. There is a point. I never once took medication for my anxiety. I was prescribed medication but I didn’t even open the box. And here’s why:
- I didn’t like the sound of the side-effects: I know this sounds pathetic because everything has side effects but they were so awful, especially the fact that you’re likely to feel worse before you feel better and you may experience suicidal thoughts. That terrified me.
- I didn’t feel at my worse at the time of prescription: Which ties in above if I didn’t feel rock-bottom and felt I could cope without medication then I was going to damn well try.
- I wanted to get through it without medication: I take herbal remedies (whether they actually work or not is a whole other matter but quite frankly, I don’t care if it’s a placebo affect) and that’s all I’m willing to take. I was determined not to put extra chemicals etc. into my body and to try and get through this naturally, with herbal remedies and counselling. And I did.
Now I know that not taking medication just isn’t an option for some people. And that’s fine. Some people need it and it works for them and that’s great – everyone is different and we need to find what works for us. But I’m talking about those who didn’t and don’t want to take medication today – like myself. And whether there was any point us getting diagnosed if we’re not going to take drugs the doctors want to give. us.
Of course there’s a point.
There’s a point because getting diagnosed is the turning point. Medication or not, is it the point where we have a solid indication of what is wrong and a solid foundation to work from and build ourselves back up from. Before I was diagnosed, I had no idea what was wrong with me – it was terrifying. But then, everything became clear. By being diagnosed, we can learn to recognise that what’s happening to us isn’t a freak incident that’s not happening to anyone else on the planet. It’s a real thing. And we’re not alone.
By being diagnosed, we can start researching ourselves. We know what to look for and where to find the appropriate help. Just like I did. Medication isn’t the be-all and end-all of mental health problems. It’s not the only option. We can begin to understand our thought processes more – however radical they may seem at the time. And having a doctors diagnosis can be the whole world off your shoulders. Whether you take any medication or not, is pretty irrelevant. There is always a point of a diagnosis. Medication or none.