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Psychiatric Medication Management

Many psychiatric disorders are treated with a two-pronged approach: medication combined with therapy or counseling. Psychiatric providers can treat a wide range of mental health conditions. When it comes to psychiatric medications, there are a lot of unknowns which can be uncomfortable for most patients. Finding a psychiatric provider whom you trust as well as understanding their role and knowing what medication management is, is instrumental in feeling comfortable and at ease with the recommended treatment plan. It is important to note that not all patients and not all psychiatric problems require medication treatment. 


The choice to take medications for mental health is a big one, and it is usually necessary when symptoms of your mental illness have gotten worse or can no longer be managed with skills. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about psychotropic medication management.

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Why Psychiatric Medication Management can be Beneficial.

Sometimes, mental health problems occur when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Chemical substances called neurotransmitters send and receive messages throughout the brain. Among the various neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, glutamate, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).


If there is too much or too little of a particular neurotransmitter, mental health problems/symptoms can occur. Therefore the medication works by restoring the chemical balance within the brain. Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a way to medically test for a chemical imbalance, so it can be a matter or trial-and-error to see if medication works, what type works, how much, and for how long. Once again, there is a multitude of research that allows prescribers to prescribe with confidence the appropriate medications for the symptoms you are reporting. 


Psychotropic medications do not cure mental health conditions. They work for managing mental illness/symptoms, and they often produce better results when used in conjunction with psychotherapy.


Mental Illness Medications Pros and Cons

Each medication has a different list of side effects and possible benefits. This is why doctors are always helping patients weigh the possible benefits as well as the side effects of taking these medications. Here are some common pros and cons of taking psychiatric medication:



  • Can eliminate or reduce symptoms

  • Sometimes—it is the only medical solution available to cure the chemical imbalance

  • Help take the edge off of symptoms during therapy

  • Makes up one part of the whole-person approach to healing

  • Allow patients to have their regular or normal everyday lives


  • Can be dangerous without doctor supervision

  • Undesirable side effects can occur

  • Takes several trial and error to find the right dose and medication

  • There are people who might judge and stigmatize patients taking psychiatric medicine

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Myths About Psychotherapy Medication.

While many individuals assume that medications prescribed by a psychiatric provider are only used in rare and extreme circumstances—psychiatric medications are more common than that. The truth is—one out of every six adults in the United States—is being treated with a psychotropic medication. 


#1 - I will become addicted to psychiatric medications

Psychiatric medications are not addictive in the same way that illegal drugs might be considered addictive. Psychiatric medication is given in a controlled and therapeutic dose to help manage symptoms of mental illness. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of addiction to psychiatric medications, it is best to speak with your doctor to seek out a new plan of action. 


#2 - Psychiatric medication is a short-term solution

Psychiatric medication can be effective for managing symptoms of mental illness for years, even decades. Some individuals may take psychiatric medication on an ongoing basis, while others will be prescribed “maintenance therapy” to help them manage their symptoms or prevent relapse. This medication may be prescribed for the rest of their lives. If it is taken as directed and under a doctor’s care, it can provide incredible benefits to their health and well-being. 


#3 - Getting help for mental health symptoms is a sign of personal weakness. Many people assume that if you need medication to manage mental illness symptoms, it means there is something wrong with your personality. The trust is that mental health is a serious issue and it takes courage to seek help for your well-being. Having the strength to accept that you may need medication to manage your mental health is a sign that you are taking your life seriously and want what's best for yourself.  It is important to remember that just because you might need medication to manage your mental health, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you.


Why Psychiatric Medication Management can be Beneficial.

The decision take medication for your mental health condition—as well as other psychological services is personal and should not be made lightly. We respect every woman’s right to make their own healthcare choices regardless of their behavioral health disorder. 


However, we believe that patients can only make informed choices about getting a mental health service, psychotherapy, and/or  group therapy when they stop believing myths. It is important to understand any medication's many uses, side-effects and to comprehend the risks associated.


A psychiatric nurse practitioner specializes in treating mental and behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Treating mental health issues is absolutely far different from treating physical health. issues.

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What types of Illnesses do Psychiatric Medicine treat?

It is common for people to wonder if mental health medications should be taken at all, what benefits these medications will bring and do those benefits outweigh the side-effects. While there is no cure for mental illness, various treatments including psychotropic medications can assist in alleviating symptoms.


There is substantial research about the various types of mental health medications that psychiatric providers have an understanding of what various medications do for the various symptoms of different mental illnesses that allow them to prescribe with confidence. Difficulties such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are among those mental illnesses that have proven to respond well to medications.

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What to expect at Alium Health when deciding on medication Management.

When you first meet with a psychiatric provider, he or she will perform an initial assessment, which will include an overview of your symptoms and a medical history. The psychiatric provider will then discuss with you about whether or not medication is the best treatment option for treating your mental health symptoms.


Based on this assessment, the psychiatric provider will make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan designed with your specific needs in mind. The treatment decisions, however, are ultimately up to you. If you decide to move forward with a medication treatment option, the psychiatric provider will discuss various medications, possible side effects and proper dosages with you.


The medication will then be prescribed for a trial period to observe and monitor its effectiveness. This is when you shift from assessment to medication management. If the treatment is effective at  managing your symptoms, you will be advised to continue with the current course of treatment, however if it is not meeting your goals, you will discuss alternative medications with the psychiatric prescriber. 

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Why is Medication  Management is important?

Medication Management is the process that occurs after the initial psychiatric assessment. This is when you and your prescriber discuss the medication that is being prescribed, the side effects, the effectiveness and any other concerns you are having with your medications. You will review your symptoms and review your treatment plan. Oftentimes, people become upset or angry if their mental health medications do not eradicate their symptoms, however this is when it may be necessary to pair your medication treatment with psychotherapy to develop skills or tools to cope with your symptoms. 


One thing to remember is that mental health medications do not fall into the category of medications that are stopped once the symptoms remit. When you start to feel relief from your mental health symptoms, you then need to discuss continued treatment options with your prescriber, do not abruptly stop taking your medications due to the lack of symptoms without consulting with your prescriber. 


Medication management appointments are necessary if you start to experience side effects from your medications. Many side effects are temporary as your system grows accustomed to your medications. Your prescriber should give you specifics on what to expect and how long it might last. If you begin to experience side-effects it is important to contact your prescriber’s office and make an appointment to discuss those side effects.

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