Thursday, February 18, 2010

Part 3: The Limits of Research in Making a Decision about Medication

It's 2002, and the psychiatrist who put me on his waiting list finally called to schedule an appointment. I sat in a leather chair, feeling like a willow trembling with the slightest breeze. He was a soft spoken man in his 50's, and he paused after I spoke as if to absorb what I said before responding. He concurred that I had a diagnosis of OCD, and felt medication could help me, and that perhaps after a year or so, my mind would "reset" itself and I would be able to taper off.

He proposed Celexa because it was new and not supposed to have sexual side effects. OCD thinking had seriously stunted my ability to approach anything near intimacy with my husband, and we had just started making some progress because of working my therapist, who I will call Molly. I was terrified of sexual side effects, and this was a major obstacle to my taking medication. I'd read numerous articles on the subject from the medical literature, plus enough posts on internet bulletin boards to fuel up my obsessing to the flammable point.

His assurance to me was that if I did have sexual side effects, he would put me on another drug, Wellbutrin, and this would correct the problem. As much as I liked this doctor, his solution was like something from a farce. Take one woman who is very afraid of taking medication, and tell her that a drug will solve any problems created by the first drug. . .

But I still knew that I couldn't go on the way I had been, with rituals consuming a lot of my time and energy. I told him I would need to think about it. I believe I did something actual thinking at the time. This is an important distinction. Obsessing and compulsively looking up medical articles is not the same thing as thinking about something, or problem-solving.

I'd read enough to know that some people were helped by SSRI antidepressants, and that the only way to know if they would help me was to try one. This is incredibly difficult for someone who hoards information to accept, that some things have to be experienced rather than researched, that sometimes you need to make a decision, and you will never have enough information to make a perfect decision. But I was on my way to making a decision.

Related Posts:
Part 1: OCD and Medication Decisions
Part 2: Starting Medication While Struggling
Part 4: My First Prescription for SSRI's
Part5: Feeling in the Jaw: Side effects
Part 6: Being on Medication & OCD Weeping
Part 7: Wanting to Get off my Medication
Part 7.5: Built on Sinking Sand: OCD and Health Anxiety

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