Mental Health Medication

Many people who have a mental health condition may be able to get the help they need with just therapy or counseling, while others might need the help of prescription medication.

Depending on the mental illness or disorder, a person might need to be prescribed only one kind of medication to control symptoms, while others may need more than one. Common medications for those diagnosed with mental illnesses include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.

Before you begin taking medication for your mental illness or disorder, you will need to talk to both the doctor who prescribed the medication and a pharmacist to understand how the drug will affect your body. You will need to know both the risks and benefits of the medicine and find out how your body will respond if you voluntarily decide to stop taking it. Having conversations with your doctor will help to get the doses of your medication right, or to change your medications if doing so is necessary.

Who Can Prescribe Medication for Mental Health Conditions?

For a person to be prescribed medication for a mental health condition, they are going to need to meet with a medical professional who can write prescriptions. These include:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Family Nurse Practitioners

The list of above healthcare professional may be able to offer diagnoses and therapy for your mental health condition, which can save you time and energy trying to find more than one health care professional to speak with about your mental illness or disorder.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are most commonly prescribed to treat depression, but they can also be prescribed to people who suffer from other mental health conditions, like anxiety and insomnia. The medication works by helping to improve how the brain uses chemicals that ultimately control your emotions, such as how you handle stress or how your mood affects you.

Patients who are prescribed an antidepressant may try out a couple of different kinds before they find one that they and their doctor find useful. When you start taking an antidepressant, it is essential to know that it may take time for it to take effect. Within two to four weeks, you will start noticing that your symptoms are diminishing and you are starting to feel better.

changes in your mood may take more time. During the initial few weeks of taking an antidepressant, you must be patient and not jump to the conclusion that the medication does not help you when in actuality, it might not have entirely taken effect. If you have concerns about the medication not working, you should speak to your doctor.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

If you suffer from anxiety, it is likely that you will be prescribed anti-anxiety medications which are developed to reduce anxiety symptoms like panic attacks, and uncontrollable bouts of worry and fear. Among the most common anti-anxiety medication are benzodiazepines, which are typically available under the brand name Xanax. Benzodiazepines help to relieve anxiety and are known to work quickly.

Many mental health professionals recommend Benzodiazepines to treat sudden episodes of anxiety. Many patients who are prescribed Xanax take this medication as needed. However, patients who take benzodiazepines for an extended period have been known to build a tolerance to the anti-anxiety medication, which may require them to continuously increase doses to get the same effect of the medication.

There are other types of medication that are intended to treat chronic anxiety. It is important to talk to your doctor to find the best anti-anxiety medication for you.

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics are prescribed to help manage a specific category of mental illness. People who are prescribed psychotics have lost sense and contact with reality, and are often prone to delusions or hallucinations, such as having false beliefs and seeing and hearing things that are not there.

It is common for antipsychotics to be prescribed along with other medications to treat mental health conditions like severe depression, eating disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is important to note that the use of antipsychotics does not cure these mental health conditions and that they are only used to help relieve the symptoms so that patients can live a healthy life.

Mood Stabilizers

Mood stabilizers do precisely what they sound like, and they are primarily prescribed to treat mental health disorders. They most often treat symptoms of bipolar disorder, but they can be used to stabilize mood swings that might be brought on by other mental health conditions. The most prescribed mood stabilizer is lithium and, in some cases, mood stabilizers can be prescribed to enhance the effect of medications that are used to treat depression. It is common for anticonvulsant medications to be used as a form of mood stabilizers. Though anticonvulsant medications were developed to treat seizures, studies found that it also helps to control unstable moods. Mood stabilizers can also be used to prevent or manage symptoms of mania or depression, and to also prevent relapses and rehospitalizations.

Stimulants

Stimulants are prescribed to increase attention, alertness, and energy and to raise blood pressure and respiration. It is common for stimulants to be prescribed to children, adolescents and adults who have been diagnosed as having ADHD, and the most common stimulants include methylphenidate and amphetamine. Stimulants can be prescribed for an array of mental health conditions, including narcolepsy. Occasionally, stimulants are also prescribed to older people who suffer from depression and who have not been responsive to other types of medications.

When you meet with a physician, and you discuss your medication options, you must tell them about all the medications and vitamin supplements that you are currently taking, and if you have allergies. It is crucial that before you start taking any medication for a mental health condition that you understand how to take it and that you only take it as instructed by your doctor and pharmacists. Also, try to avoid stopping a medication without consulting your doctor first.

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