psychiatrist discusses medication dosage with patient

Does Your Mental Health Medication Need an Adjustment?

If you take medication for a mental health disorder, you are far from alone. An estimated one out of every six American adults takes a psychiatric medication. These drugs include antidepressants, stimulants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications.

Psychiatric medications can be important and even life-saving. They can provide much-needed relief, especially when therapy alone is not enough. However, these drugs do have their limitations. Even if someone has been feeling good for a while, medications can stop working. Patients may adjust to the dosages or their brain chemistry can change.

When this happens, it’s time for an adjustment to medication. Below are some signs that it’s time to make a medication management appointment and have a psychiatrist assess your treatment plan.

The Side Effects Are Too Much to Handle

In rare cases, people can have life-threatening allergic reactions to psychiatric medications, just like any other medication. In this case, patients should seek immediate medical care.

Sometimes patients react poorly to a medication in a way that does not threaten their life. Common side effect os psychiatric medications include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Often, these side effects are mild and go away after a few weeks. However, some patients have such severe or persistent side effects that they do not want to take the medication any longer. If you are in this situation, avoid quitting the medicine cold turkey. Instead, make a medication management appointment.

Your Mental Health Gets Worse

When you start taking a new psychiatric medication, the hope is that your symptoms will get better and you will heal. This happens for many patients, but not always with the first medication a person tries. Sometimes, the exact opposite takes place and a patient’s symptoms worsen.

Be sure to get an appointment as soon as possible if you have symptoms such as suicidal ideation or the worsening of any other symptom. A psychiatrist can help you find a medication that works better for you.

You Feel Numb to All Emotions

One of the common misconceptions about psychiatric medications is that the goal is to make people numb. This is not what doctors aim for when they prescribe medications. Instead, the goal is to promote a balanced mental state.

If you start feeling numb or apathetic, it’s time to make an adjustment to your medication. The problem could be that you simply have too high of a dose or that you need a different class of medication.

It Works–But Not Well Enough

Sometimes psychiatric medication helps people with some symptoms, but not others. Other patients find a little bit of relief, but their symptoms still interfere with their lives. If this happens to you, it’s a sign that you may need a higher dose or an additional medication for your treatment plan.

You Develop Entirely New Symptoms

Unfortunately, people with one mental health condition are often more likely to develop a second disorder. Because of this, some patients are doing well with a medication when they start developing symptoms of a different disorder. For example, someone whose anxiety is well controlled could start feeling depressed.

If this happens, it’s a sign that a person may need a different medication. Sometimes this means adding a new medication, but other times patients need to switch medicine entirely.

If you have any signs that your psychiatric medication is not working well for you, contact a Florida psychiatrist near you soon. Our mental health professionals can work with you to find a treatment plan that best fits your needs and gets you further on your path to wellness.