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  • Writer's pictureDr. Amy Mednick

Pandemic Psychopharm

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

(This post is intended for providers.)

The question I'm spending most of my professional time answering is, "Do I need more/less/different medications now that I feel more depressed/ anxious/overwhelmed than ever before?" And my usual answer is.... well, I don't have a usual answer because it's different every time.

Depression is Depression, regardless of its causes or lack of causes - so if that's what we're dealing with then an unequivocal YES to aggressive treatment. Same goes for mania and psychosis.

Anxiety, and overwhelm, and all its other cousins, are more slippery beasts. Life as we know it now is very overwhelming for many and a lot of good coping mechanisms (socializing with friends, going to the gym, walking to work) are not safely available. So yes, some people severely need a "band-aid" in the absence of those strategies and salves, in the absence of the liberty to call out sick from work or childcare until this all passes. If their symptoms are crippling them and they're not functioning very well, I believe treatment is appropriate.

This band-aid often comes these days in the form of a benzodiazepine (xanax, klonopin, ativan, etc) - hopefully for use just once every few weeks as a vent when things hit "11." If it's a vent that is needed every day, then we might shift to a more global neurochemical salve like an SSRI (or an increased dose of a current SSRI, temporarily).

For the rest, who are not crippled, a medication change or addition may not be necessary. They may just need permission or validation. Yes, a deep cry once a week is allowed - this is hard. No, you can no longer say "yes" to every thing work throws at you, what a wonderful opportunity this is to start building better boundaries!

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