May 2nd, 2014
Medication, Education and Advocacy
Medication, Education and Advocacy:
Useful Insights: Improving How People with Developmental
Disabilities Use Medication
The Direct Support Workers Newsletter: Volume 3, Issue 5
By: Yona Lunsky and Virginie Cobigo
A few opening questions
How many medications do you take each day? How did you decide to take them, and how do you
know they work? How bad are the side effects, and what do you do to tolerate them?
One last question: What would happen if you were unable to ask yourself any of these questions or if
no one helped you figure out the answers? Consider this story….
My brother had been on numerous medications for almost 10 years. He became very quiet,
slowed down and sluggish. He also gained a lot of weight and didn’t have the energy he
used to have. Over those 10 years, we began to feel that this was just who he was and forgot
about his old energetic self who was always on the go. However, he began to get upset with
this sluggish self and slowly became more aggressive and began lashing out, always telling
us he didn’t feel well or wasn’t happy. It was a long and painful process, but we eventually
realized that he was likely overmedicated. Once this issue was cleared up, we saw a reemergence
of his old self. With the right balance of medication, he could be happy and
energetic and also have his psychiatric issues under control.
—Francine ( from Atlas, Chapter 6)+