If you have depression and are struggling financially, the last thing you want to give up is your depression treatment, but you may feel that you just can’t justify paying for your treatment instead of rent, food and utilities. Here are a few ideas that might help you continue with therapy and medication treatment.
If you’re having trouble paying for therapy but hate to give it up, consider these alternatives:
- Support groups are a low-cost and often very effective form of therapy. Try your local mental health clinic, community center or church for descriptions of groups available and contact information. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has chapters in many states in the U.S. (However, they do point out on their site that support groups should supplement therapy instead of replace it.)
- Pastoral counseling is provided by ministers, priests, rabbis and other religious professionals who have had mental health education and training. Their fees are often charged on a sliding scale. A directory of pastoral counselors accredited by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors is on their website.
Ask your doctor for samples of your medication at each visit. Be honest about your financial problems, and your doctor should be glad to help in any way possible. The last thing that psychiatrists want is for their patients to go off their meds.
- Pill splitting can save you money by basically doubling the number of pills you get for the same amount of money – under certain conditions. If you take a 20mg per day tablet and your medication also comes in a 40mg tablet, you might be able to save money by having your doctor prescribe the 40mg dose and splitting the tablets in two. The catch (at least, one of them) is that it only makes sense if the 40mg tablets are the same price or at least less than double the price of the 20mg tablets.
Cautions and Disclaimers
- Pill splitting should only be done with the full knowledge and support of your doctor.
- The FDA “…does not encourage the practice of tablet splitting unless it’s specified in the drug’s professional prescribing information. If a patient is considering splitting a tablet, FDA recommends that the patient get advice directly from his or her doctor or pharmacist to determine whether it is appropriate or not for a particular drug.” That being said, an entire article on pill splitting is on their website. But do read Tablet Splitting: A Risky Practice, also on the FDA website, to make sure that you understand and avoid the inherent risks.
- Capsules and time-released medications should never be split. Pill splitting is not an option when the patient has poor eyesight or dexterity, diminished cognitive ability or disordered thinking.
- You can find a thorough discussion of pill splitting here from the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs website.