Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Can Meds Save Your Mental Health?

Shalom Feinberg, M.D. & Dov Finkelstein, LCSW

Not sure whether to consider taking an antidepressant? Don’t know how to proceed after your date reveals he’s seeing a psychiatrist? Discover the answers to pressing questions about psychiatric medication.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mindy, a 23-year-old Bais Yaakov graduate, was excitedly anticipating the birth of her first child. After having the baby however, she became paralyzed by a sense of doubt and was constantly getting stuck on trivialities. Everything she did needed to feel perfect for her to be able to move on. She found herself doing the same things over and over again, like washing the baby’s bottles repeatedly until she felt confident they were clean. Making small decisions such as what the baby should wear became overwhelming — it would take half the morning.

It had become difficult for her to get out of the house.

Despite help at home, Mindy still wasn’t functioning. She was clearly in the throes of deep emotional pain. She began seeing a therapist who diagnosed postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Although the therapist tried to talk to Mindy about treatment, her anxiety was so high that she was unable to focus. The therapist suggested meeting with a psychiatrist to evaluate whether medication might diminish her anxiety so psychotherapy would be more useful.

At first Mindy and her family were very resistant to the idea of psychiatric medications, afraid they might be addictive or that, once started, she’d have to take them for the rest of her life. The therapist encouraged her to bring up these topics when she saw the psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist recommended beginning on a low dose of medication to reduce her concerns. Fortunately, Mindy experienced no problematic side effects, so the psychiatrist then raised the dose to an effective therapeutic level that was beneficial in reducing her nonstop doubting.

With her anxiety lowered, Mindy was able to focus on understanding cognitive-behavioral therapy and implementing skills for overcoming her anxiety. As Mindy progressed, she was able to better care for herself and her baby. With time, motivation, and hard work, she was finally able to function freely again. After a number of months, Mindy and her psychiatrist discussed the pros and cons of tapering off the medicine. They decided to slowly lower her dose until she was totally off the medication.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"