Posted by: Jack Hope | Thursday August 30, 2012

Pill Fatigue

It started last week. Usually I am very punctual about taking my medication. First thing in the morning, before I do anything else I take my pills. I set out a glass of water beside the case and put them both on the dresser beside the bed. I wake up, I take my pills.

Except I started forgetting to take them. I’d be cooking breakfast for myself and remember that I hadn’t taken my pills. So I would go down and grab them and take them.

Forgetfulness has long been a problem of mine, although one that has improved in recent years, possibly as my Depression symptoms have eased. So it was easy to dismiss as me being a bit forgetful.

Then yesterday I made a very conscious effort to take my pills first thing in the morning. I went to open the case and all of sudden had this feeling of….  Defeat? Resignation? I’m not really sure how to describe it, except to say that I felt very tired of taking pills.

I still took them anyhow, but I have to admit the entire episode left me a little unnerved. A little research seemed to suggest that this was a minor case of Pill Fatigue, a feeling of being depressed and tired of taking pills.

Pill Fatigue is a real phenomenon, although it’s mostly reported by those dealing with illnesses such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis or HIV, or who have ongoing chronic conditions, and can have serious ramifications for people dealing with those illnesses. People taking a large quantity of supplements have also reported feeling pill fatigue.

But for those of us who take psychiatric medications there seems to be very little out there about it. Despite the fact that we also may have to take these medications for the rest of our lives and face serious health consequences if we have serious lapses in our treatment.

I don’t take a lot of medications, although I do take some supplements which adds to my pill count. I’ve been on some sort of medication regularly for over two years now and this is the first time that I’ve ever felt quite like this. This is just a minor blip, but I have to wonder, how I will feel after being on these pills for 5 years? For ten years?

The available material out there suggests that dealing with Pill Fatigue is a matter of staying motivated, reminding yourself why you’re taking these medications and what they are doing for you. However, when a person is experiencing a mood disorder, staying motivated to take medication can be a challenge. No one ever promised that anti-depressants meant you would never feel depressed again, as I have personally learned. Staying motivated to take medication when it’s not having much of an apparent effect would be a major challenge.

For now, my solution has been to give myself a couple of days break from my supplements and just take my psychiatric medications. A couple of days with a missed multivitamin isn’t going to be the end-of-the-world health wise for me.

Have you ever experienced Pill Fatigue? Take my poll!



  1. Great post! I believe in this pill fatigue.I have only just started them but have it.I picture 10 years of pill popping , when already I have no relief from the constant drag down of depression. It is a daily effort to remind myself to take them ,as when depressed , it is hard to get the energy to even open the tablet packet,or you can’t see the point when the moods are still there.when manic you feel fine, so don’t need them. My gripe is side effects vs moods with pill fatigue,as you probably don’t want to take the pills recalling the side effects the day before?? I’ll be interested to see your poll results.

  2. We feel your pain. I am an RN who takes medication daily for depression. Take a look at Its a medication reminder service that is very affordable and reliable. A text is sent to remind you to take your medication. Its one less thing to stress about; gives some peace of mind.

  3. I’ve been wanting to comment since I read this, just haven’t had time. I didn’t start taking meds until I was into my twenties. I was on them until I got pregnant in my late thirties and had to go off them for safety reasons. I guess the pregnancy hormones helped with the depression because all through my pregnancy and afterward while nursing my daughter I didn’t seem to need them. Then that day came. I started losing my short term memory, getting panic attacks and then I thought I was having a heart attack. Finally went to the Dr panic stricken and in tears. Long story short, I found out that I had contracted Lyme disease and it was attacking my brain. I was put on antidepressants again, valium for the panic attacks and strong antibiotics. After taking antibiotics twice a day for like a year I was sick to death of the pills and pissed that a little annoying insect screwed up my depression remission. I am still on the antidepressants and whenever I get sick, a cold, sinus infection, whatever type of infection I get, the Lyme wakes up and I’m back on antibiotics again for another 6 months to a year. I hate that this will be a lifetime pattern for me now.
    So the weekend that you wrote this post I went away for the weekend and guess what I forgot?? Yup, my meds. Coincidence?? Thank goodness my son brought them to me the next day. My panic over not having them was probably worse than what would have happened if I didn’t take them.
    So yes I get pill fatigue as well.

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