QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT
I n f o r m a t i o n i n t h i s b r o c h u r e is MOST OF YOUR
ba s e d on the work of:
MEDICATION What do I hope to improve about my life by taking medication right now?
Patricia Deegan, PhD, APPOINTMENTS What medication(s) have I taken before? At what dosage and for how long?
“ R ec l a im in g y o u r po w er d u ri n g
m e d i c a t i o n a p p o in t m e n t s w i t h What was helpful or unhelpful about those medications?
your psychiatrist” at http://
The thing that worries me the most about taking medication is________?
s e l f h e l p / re c l a i m . h t m l What’s the name of the medication I’m taking?
Alameda County Behavioral What is the dosage and when should it be taken?
Health Care Services, Office of What symptoms or condition is this medication for?
t h e Me d ic a l D ir ec t o r w h ic h c an
be f o un d a t h t t p :/ / w w w . ac b h c s. How long before I should start to notice an effect from this medication?
o r g / me ddi r / Med Co n se nt /E ng li sh /
What are the unwanted effects or side effects associated with this drug?
If I should experience unwanted side effects, what should I do about it?
Is the medication addictive?
Will I need to take any lab test before or while I’m taking the medication?
Are there any foods or medications I should avoid while taking this medication?
How long will I need to take this medication?
Are there other medication choices?
Are there non-pharmaceutical alternatives to this
Brochure designed by Carol
Patterson V.4 11/27/07
Strategy #2 Learn to Think Differently symptoms the better. Track your experiences
about Medication Armed with knowledge about your medica- with your medications since your last ap-
Strategy #1 Learn to Think Differently Medications are a powerful tool to deal with tions, you can feel more confident in having pointment and summarize them before your
about Yourself the symptoms of mental illness, but they are a thoughtful and productive discussion with meeting. Make an agenda for the meeting.
You are an expert on yourself and your not the only tools and they are not a cure. your psychiatrist.
mental health issues. It is up to you to no- Exercise, eating well, avoiding alcohol and Strategy #5 Take Charge of the Meeting
tice the effects of your medications and to street drugs, friends, spirituality, art and na- Strategy #3 Think Differently about Psy- At the beginning of the appointment, state
discuss them with your psychiatrist. ture are some other tools that consumers chiatrists your agenda. Take notes during the meeting,
have found can be helpful. Due to rising health care costs, psychiatrists or immediately after the meeting, to remind
Be proactive and learn about your mental have less and less time to study charts and yourself of the information the doctor gives
health issues and medications. Use the list meet with their clients. Information that you. If you wish, ask permission to tape re-
of questions in this brochure to get clear you can provide about your history and cord the meeting. Some psychiatrists may be
about what information you need. medications can be helpful. uncomfortable with this request, but respect-
Ask your psychiatrist any questions you fully explaining your reasons for wanting a
may have about your medications. It is useful to keep your own record of the recording may eliminate the resistance. An-
medications you have tried, for what symp- other option is to bring a friend or support
Consumers have the right to determine toms, at what dos- person since “two heads are better than one”
what risks they are willing to take and to ages, and for what when it comes to recalling information.
question the efficacy of these medications period of time.
over the long term. When a new medi-
Taking medications is a personal choice. cation is discussed,
It takes more than the right medication to Learning to use a variety of non-drug cop- you can easily
get well and stay well, but medications can ing strategies may help to minimize the check whether you
alleviate enough of the symptoms to allow amount of medications required, and for have taken it before
you to engage other coping strategies on some people may eliminate the need for and with what re- If necessary,
your positive journey of recovery. medications. sults. request a second
Knowledge of the medications you are tak- Doctors aren’t per-
ing can be very empowering. There are fect and may sometimes be wrong. If you
many sources of information including your are in doubt about your care, discuss your
psychiatrist, information sheets available concerns.
from your pharmacist, drug-inserts provided
by the pharmaceutical company, books Strategy #4 Prepare to Meet with Your
available on the internet or at the library and Psychiatrist
the website of the Alameda County Office Since psychiatrist appointments are very
Give yourself credit for the of the Medical Director at short, it can be useful to make notes,
positive changes you make. http://www.acbhcs.org/meddir/ in advance, of the concerns or questions
MedDir_default.htm. you would like to discuss. The more spe-
cific you can be about your issues and/or