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If You Take Medication Every Day, Are You a Drug Addict?

September 26, 2023 Natasha Tracy

When I started taking medication every day, I was worried that it would make me a drug addict. Some might find this fear weird, but it was definitely a real fear for me. My father was an addict, and I was terrified of turning into one, too. My psychiatrist at the time did nothing to disabuse me of that notion either (he probably never thought it would cross my mind). So, let's look at whether taking medication every day makes you a drug addict and how to deal with that fear.

Fear of Being an Addict Because of Taking Medication Every Day

A fear may be real, but it may not be based on reality. Part of the reason I was so scared of psychiatric medication was because I was raised in what I would call an antipsychiatry household. I was told that depression was just weakness and medication was just for people who couldn't handle their own lives. I was told it was never needed if you were just strong enough.

Of course, these things aren't true. We know that mental illness is an illness of the brain, and while there are many things you can take control of when you have a mental illness, you need treatment for a mental illness, just like you would for most illnesses. 

My fear about addiction and taking medication daily was built on false ideas. Well, that and the fear of being my father.

Is Taking Medication Every Day the Same as Addiction?

I've professionally written about mental illness for 13 years now, and I can unequivocally say that taking medication every day is not at all the same thing as addiction.

For more on everyday medication and addiction, watch this:

If You're Scared of Addiction Due to Daily Medication

As I said in my video, there's a big difference between taking prescribed medication every day and being addicted to a drug. Nonetheless, the fear of that is real. 

Please remember this. No one would accuse a diabetic of being a drug addict because they need insulin every day. And there's a reason for that. They are not a drug addict. They are a person who is dependent on a medication for their health. And that's okay. Health conditions need mediation sometimes. That's why we have them.

The biggest concern a person with mental illness should have is actual addiction to a nonprescribed drug or alcohol. Levels of addiction are very high in illnesses like bipolar disorder and a real risk. But your prescribed medication? That's just what your brain needs to function healthily right now. You aren't getting high. You're not abusing a drug. You aren't ruining your life because of your drug. You're just taking it to survive, and that's a positive, not a negative.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2023, September 26). If You Take Medication Every Day, Are You a Drug Addict?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2023/9/if-you-take-medication-every-day-are-you-a-drug-addict



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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