I Was Prescribed the Wrong Mental Health Medication

January 30, 2024 Michaela Jarvis

Recovering from a mental illness is already hard, but being prescribed the wrong mental health medication makes the experience even harder. In the past, I have been prescribed the wrong mental health medications, and I’ve heard many stories of others who have had to deal with the same situation. Being medicated incorrectly can be harmful, so speaking up when there’s something wrong is critical.

I Was Prescribed the Wrong Mental Health Medication

In my early 20s, I was on a hefty dose of antidepressants. It started in college. When I was experiencing depression symptoms, my doctor would up my dosage. Then I’d feel better for a few months, only to fall right back into a depressive episode, which led to a higher dose. That cycle continued until I reached the maximum dosage, and I still didn’t feel okay. At that point, I had energy, but I was angry, irritable, and unbalanced.

After college, I worked with a doctor I felt uncomfortable with, one who questioned my bipolar disorder diagnosis. He kept up the full dose of depression medication but insisted on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) testing. (The results showed both ADHD and bipolar disorder.) A stimulant was added to my regimen.

At that point, I felt even worse. It felt like a constant manic or mixed episode. After a very tiring year (one that brought a lot of bad judgment and pain), I sought out a new doctor. Her immediate reaction to my prescribed medications was shock. Sure, my medications had kept me away from depressive symptoms, but with no mood stabilizers and extra stimulants, I had become erratic. Being prescribed the wrong mental health medication had harmed my life.

Ensuring My Mental Health Prescriptions Weren't Wrong

Honestly, it was a relief to hear that I had been prescribed the wrong mental health medication. I had blamed myself for years, calling myself “crazy” or “stupid” (which is harmful to associate with mental illness in general).

I knew something was wrong, but I was too intimidated by my initial doctor to say anything. I thought that as long as my depression didn’t keep me in bed for weeks, the medication worked well enough. Fixing half the problem was not good enough.

I was scared to get a new doctor, but it turned out that finding a new doctor was the best thing for me. She was able to adjust my medications, which completely changed my ability to manage my mental illness.

Being Honest About the Wrong Mental Health Medication Prescriptions and Symptoms

In my case, there had been a dismissive doctor and a lack of trust that caused me to stay on the incorrect prescribed medications. That’s not always the case.

While doctors are considered experts in medicine, they are not experts on each person. Medication is tricky, and everyone is different. Each person is an expert regarding their own body and experiences.

Not only does there need to be trust between a patient and doctor, but also trust between a person and themselves. If something feels wrong, that’s worth looking into. If symptoms worsen or persist, it’s time to talk with a professional.

Being prescribed the wrong mental health medication is frustrating. What I thought was “good enough” turned out to be making my symptoms worse, and the sad truth was I knew there was something wrong, but I didn’t believe in myself enough to face it for years. It does not have to be that way. Medications should be helpful, not hurtful. Building trust with oneself and with one's doctor can make finding the right medication and managing mental illness so much easier.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2024, January 30). I Was Prescribed the Wrong Mental Health Medication, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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