What is Medication Management?
For some patients, therapy and lifestyle changes are enough to stop their mental illness symptoms. However, other patients need medication to manage their disorders. Some clients only need medication for a short time while they work through issues in therapy. Other patients have chronic mental illnesses and need long-term medications.
When patients need drugs for any length of time, medication management plays a crucial role in recovery. Due to the ways that psychiatric medications work, medical teams must keep closer eyes on dosages and side effects.
Psychiatrists often start patients on prescriptions that work for most people. Sometimes, they start at low dosages and work up as needed. Patients may not react well to the first medication, which means they need to switch safely. Because the process is so complicated and personalized, clients may need to follow-up with doctors every few weeks or months until they find the right dosage.
Even when patients with chronic illnesses find the right dosages, they may need adjustments from time to time. Their bodies can adapt to specific dosages, or their needs can change. Certain medications can become addictive, so clients on these drugs require additional supervision.
Why Medication for Mental Illness Can be Beneficial
The choice to take mental health medication is personal, which means patients should always know the truth about the treatments they choose. It’s crucial to debunk the many myths surrounding these medications, know how doctors use them, and understand the risks.
Myths About Medicine
One persistent myth of mental health medication is that hardly anybody takes them. In reality, one in six adults in the United States takes prescriptions for mental disorders. If you need these medications, you are far from alone.
Many people also believe that all mental illness medications make patients develop dependencies. While some medications are addictive, many are not. Doctors typically do not prescribe these drugs unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Similarly, some people think that mental health medications will make them feel nothing at all. This is a possibility. However, if that problem persists, the patient can switch medications. Medication management is all about finding the right balance for each patient.
What Types of Illnesses Can Psychiatric Medicine Treat?
Some disorders do not respond to medication, such as low self-esteem. Other disorders require both medication and therapy. For example, anti-anxiety pills can make exposure therapy bearable for people with phobias, but they still need the therapy.
When patients have chemical imbalances, medication can serve as the primary mode of treatment. Then, therapy supplements the healing that the medicine provides.
With all of these different scenarios, medication can play a role in treating almost any mental disorder, if necessary.
Medication for Mental Illness Pros and Cons
As with any medication, patients and their care teams must weigh the pros and cons before starting any psychiatric drug. Below are some of the common considerations patients must make.
- Can reduce or eliminate symptoms
- Sometimes it is the only way to recovery
- Can help patients manage emotions while they work through therapy
- Patients begin to return to their healthy lives
- Others may pass judgment
- Can be dangerous if taken outside the guidance of a professional
- It can take time to find the right dose or medication
- Can lead to negative side effects until patients find the right treatment
Common Mental Health Medications
Mental health medications entered Western medicine in the late 19th century. In the years since, the industry has developed several different types of medicines for the many kinds of mental disorders patients can have.
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
These medicines can either be rapid-acting doses that calm people who have acute anxiety. Other dosages serve as maintenance to keep anxiety at bay. The most common of this type of medication include:
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lurasidone (Latuda)
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
These medications make healthy minds feel hyper. However, patients with ADHD take stimulants to feel focused. Furthermore, one stimulant recently got approval for treating binge eating disorder. Stimulant medications include:
- Methylphenidate (Concerta)
- Dextroamphetamine (ProCentra)
- Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
Medication Therapy Management vs. Self-Dosing
Patients should only take mental health medications exactly as psychiatrists or doctors order them. Skipping doses or taking too many pills can cause serious side effects. Furthermore, patients should not stop taking these medicines “cold turkey” unless directed by a doctor.
Medication management services through LifeStance Health help patients navigate the complications with prescriptions. Regular appointment can help ensure patients take their medications as scheduled and get the relief they deserve.
Contact a LifeStance Health clinic near you to request an appointment with a psychiatrist.