For many people living with mental ill-health, medication can be an important part of treatment, helping to maintain stability and avoid relapse.
During stressful situations or times of uncertainty, it can be more difficult to maintain medication regimes. Disruptions to your normal routines or activities may cause you to forget or miss doses.
Medication can’t cure mental ill-health, but they can help to reduce symptoms and help you to cope better.
Covid-19: managing medication
The ongoing coronavirus (also referred to as covid-19) situation in the UK can cause anxieties and worries, particularly given the level of uncertainty we currently face. This means maintaining your normal medication regime is even more important to promote your mental health and wellbeing.
Steps you can take include:
- Make sure you have enough medication to last you if you need to go into isolation. Talk to your doctor if you think you need more medication than usual.
- Have a plan of how you can get your prescriptions if you have to completely isolate, perhaps a friend or neighbour can pick them up, or check with your local pharmacy, they may still be offering deliveries.
- If you find changes to your routine makes it difficult to stick to your normal medication regime, try using techniques to help you to remember. This might include setting reminders on your phone, using a pill box if you have one, or asking friends or family to check you haven’t missed a dose (even if you don’t live with them, they can keep in touch via telephone or video call). Apps such as Medisafe can also be used to help you manage your medication.
- If you are missing doses regularly talk to your GP or mental health team, they may be able to offer support or a medication review to change the doses, times and frequency of your medication.
I’ve missed a dose, what do I do?
Specific advice for individual medications outlines what to do if you miss a dose and can be found on the leaflet supplied with your medication.
As a general rule, if you miss a dose you should skip this does and continue with you next dose as usual. Do not take a double dose later. If you are unsure, always check with your GP, pharmacist or mental health team.
I want to change my medication, dose or schedule?
It is important that before making any changes to your medication that you consult your GP or mental health team. Do not alter your doses on your own as this could negatively impact your mental health. Changes to medication should be monitored by a qualified health professional, this might be possible via telephone if your mental health professional or doctor cannot see you face-to-face.
As with any medication, it is possible to experience side-effects. Side effects are unwanted effects of medication which often occur alongside the benefits of taking them. Information about side-effects of psychiatric medication and how to manage them can be found here.
Medication – choices and managing problems - information on your choices and rights around medication and how to manage problems (Rethink Mental Illness)
Psychiatric Drugs – Explains what psychiatric drugs are and what to know about taking them (Mind Charity)
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, information on what to do and how to access support can be found here.