There are many reasons we may decide to change our medication. As we know, the quality of the way we make a decision often determines the quality of the decision. You may have also noticed that the quality of our decisions determines, to a large degree, the quality of our lives.
Optimize Your Decision when Changing Medication
1) What were our criteria for making our initial decision about changing medication? Has anything changed? We must also think about where we were, why is now a good time to decide and a clear statement of what we wanted and why.
2) Why did we make our decision? What were the expected outcomes? How did we intend to measure and document the results? Did we provide the necessary resources to optimize our potential for success?
3) Did we follow through on these commitments to ourselves? If not, why?
4) If we did, have our results matched our expectations? If not, why?
5) Can we expect more ongoing positive results? Are these going to be adequate? What do we need to do to make this decision work for us?
6) If this decision will not work for us, do we need to amend it, add to it or change it all together?
7) With all of this information, what have we learned? With all of the available alternatives which are most doable in the short term to provide the most long term possibilities for you and all of your relationships?
8) Is there anything that can be added to this change of decision that can act as a motivator for any of our relationships?
9) Is there anything else that we can monitor that may help us understand and motivate our progress?
10) Is there a person who can help us, motivate us or offer us new alternatives?
11) Is our goal too small to keep our attention, or big enough to warrant our efforts?
12) Is this the right time to make these decisions?
Decision Making Skills to Consider Changing Medication
1) Did we determine where we were when we started? Why did we feel this was the right time to deal with this issue? Did we clearly state the results we desired? Did we review available options? Did we provide ourselves support? Did we develop a way to measure and monitor our progress in this area? Has anything changed significantly since we initially addressed this issue?
2) Did we follow through with all we promised ourselves when we started out? Have we monitored our progress and have we met our intermediate success monitoring points along the way? Did we provide ourselves an acceptable time line to get there? Did we get the support we needed? Have there been unexpected surprises along the way and what have we done to accommodate them?
3) Did we set a wholistic path to get the job done? Did it include a morning ritual? Did this morning ritual help us fine tune the timing and intent of various interactions of our day? Is our effort truly wholistic, providing ample opportunity for success including optimizing our diet, sleep habits, exercising with affirming incantations and getting out to be with people who could support us? What words, thoughts, feelings and actions had we decided were not authentic to the way we want to express ourselves? Did we decide which words to add and/or delete from our vocabulary? Did we ask others for their help to make this happen?
4) Did we select a buddy to help us in all the aspects of our plan?
5) Have we communicated with our family, buddy, therapist and doctor about our thoughts regarding the medication and our progress?
6) Do we know our options? What usually happens if someone changes the dose, the timing of the dose, the affect of food, other medications, vitamins or over-the-counter supplements? Have we looked into other potential medical issues? Have we done blood work? Have we seen our primary care doctor? Have we seen a therapist to evaluate the value of other methods of treatment and has our therapist and doctor discussed potential options? What are the other options both medical and otherwise that are available to you?
7) If you do decide to switch medications, please know that there are very specific ways to do this depending on multiple factors including our symptoms, diagnosis, medication you are currently on and the one we are considering, the time of year, the amount of stress we are under, the risk we can afford to take at this point in our life, our previous sensitivities, and the predicted likelihood of success, among other factors.
8) Please consult your doctor before making any changes, let people around you help you and give them permission to let you know if they notice any significant changes. Make initial changes slowly, and during a time of the week where side effects will cause the least problems, follow all directions, call your doctor early with any worrisome side effects. Know your medication and where to find out more information should you or your family desire. The National Library of Medicine has information on all medications.
The Bottom Line
Within this process you may have established many of the issues below. This is your life and you are the primary decision maker in this process. Let your doctor know what you have done, how you feel and work with him or her in a way that you feel comfortable. Always know, in the end, this is your decision to make. Use this decision and this process of decision making in all of your relationships.
~ You want to feel great!
~ You want to use medications only when necessary.
~ You want to take the smallest dose of medication possible that provides the necessary support.
~ You may not be sure that you still need the medication.
~ Medications cost money and may have side effects.
~ Some experts and some in the media speak against the use of medications.
~ You may want to simply consider a change in the dose.
~ You may want to add a new medication.
~ We may want to change to a new medication.
~ You also may be happy with the response and want to leave well enough alone.
~ Lastly, you may feel like the last example but have an intolerable side effect.
Don't Decide Alone
As always, our decisions largely determine our outcomes and we all want to feel great and perform at our very best. So chose your expert carefully, preferably someone who knows you well, someone who has helped you make your decisions wholistically, and has demonstrated success with others in this particular field. Get a second opinion should you wish. Play full out and expect the same from those who serve you. Others are depending on you, don’t let them down. You are counting on you...go for it!
Please don’t change any aspect of your care without first asking the member of your treatment team you chose to help you. This information is meant for the benefit of you and those who love and support you.