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How Proper Medication Use Helps You Stay Mission Ready

Soldier picking up prescription

Air Force photo Senior Airman Janelle Patiño

Your health and safety are key to staying mission ready. This is a responsibility shared by both you and your health care provider. It is important to work together to create a treatment plan for managing your psychological health concerns. This includes taking all medication as prescribed. It is critical for your health and safety.

Why it’s Important to Stick to the Plan

You may be concerned about having received a psychiatric diagnosis, how that may be seen by others, or even how it affects the way you see yourself. However, it’s important that you take your medication properly and follow your provider’s guidance. This can help to improve your symptoms and help you get better. Taking too much or too little, or using the wrong medicine can negatively affect your health, as well as overall mission readiness.

Failure to follow your provider’s instructions can lead to:

  • Dangerous side effects
  • Worsening of symptoms
  • Death or serious health complications

Certain factors can help you stay on track. This includes open communication and a positive relationship with your provider, as well as understanding your treatment plan. Using your medication properly shows that your health is a priority. It also strengthens your role as a warrior.

How to Take Your Medication Properly

Use this action plan to help you take your medicine the right way:

  • Go over all instructions with your provider. Ask any questions you may have. This could include:
    • When and how to take the medicine
    • Potential side effects
    • Interactions with other medicine you are currently taking
    • Any available generics or coupons for the medicine
  • Pick up your prescription(s) in a timely manner. Ask any questions for how to take the medicine to your pharmacist. Begin taking your medicine on the start day advised by your care team.
  • Take your medicine at the time instructed from your doctor.
    • Set an alarm, such as on your mobile phone or watch.
    • Ask loved ones, like a parent or spouse, to help you remember.
    • Use a mobile app or calendar to assist in reminding you.
  • Follow the nutritional, operational or sleep guidelines listed with the directions.
  • Track any symptoms or side effects and share with your provider.
    • Check if your symptoms improve, worsen, or if new concerns occur.
  • Store your medicine in a safe place where your children do not have access.

Tips for Success

When you feel empowered as a patient, you may be more likely to be motivated to help manage your health concerns and take your medications correctly. Take an active role in your own health by making sure you know what your provider has prescribed and why.

Ask questions and request more information as needed. Some other tips include:

  • Share any concerns about your medication or treatment plan with your provider.
  • Let loved ones help you stay on track.
  • Contact your provider for access to resources that can help you to better follow your treatment plan.

Remember, reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the DCoE Outreach Center 24/7 to confidentially speak with trained health resource consultants, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

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