What is Medication Management?

Medication can be an important component of mental health treatment, helping patients with acute and long-term conditions. Therapy does not always suffice, and the addition of medication to a treatment plan can make all the difference for a patient.

When psychiatrists prescribe medications to mental health patients, the psychiatrist and patient take part in a process referred to as medication management. This process helps ensure that the medication is having the desired, beneficial effect on the patient. Typically, the doctor will schedule an appointment as follow-up once prescribing a medication. In this appointment, the doctor and patient can discuss the effects and results of the new medication. 

Sometimes, long-term management is necessary. Patients may adjust to certain doses or a medication may stop working for that patient. In these cases, adjustments are then made. Long-term medication management can also involve insuring that the patient does not become addicted to a substance.

Benefitting from Medication 

Many patients have a complex relationship with the idea of taking medication. The professionals at our clinic understand this, and give you room to make the decision you need to make when it comes to medication. It can, however, be of use to know some of the benefits involved in taking medication, so that a patient does not make a decision based on stereotype or preconceived notions. 

Medicine Untruths

First off, it is important for patients to understand that it is quite common for mental health patients to take medication, and it does not mean they are a dire case. 

Patients sometimes fear, too, that they will get addicted to a medication or that it will make them too detached from the real world. While side effects vary from patient to patient, but the goal with medication is to improve quality of life, not detract from it. Effective medication management also works to prevent addiction. 

That being said, not every patient is the right fit for medication. Working closely with your doctor is the best way to ensure that medication is right for you. 

What Medication Helps

Some mental health issues, such as low self esteem, are not best served by medication. As an alternative, these types of conditions are best served by therapy.

Many conditions, however, do benefit from medication, including anxiety disorders. Often, the best approach is to combine medication with ongoing therapy. In some cases, such as cases of clinical depression, medication may be the most significant component of a treatment plan. 

Medication – Pros and Cons to Consider

Patients considering taking medication should weigh both the pros and cons involved.

Pros include:

  • The effectiveness of medication
  • How it can speed up recovery
  • How it can allow a patient to focus on therapy 
  • Improvements to daily, quality of life
  • Works effectively with biological issues

Cons include:

  • Side effects
  • The need for ongoing management
  • The difficulty, at times, of finding the right dosage
  • Negative social connotation associated with medication

Common Medications Used in Mental Health

Around the early 20th century, doctors began to realize how effective medication could be on mental health issues. Previously, doctors had resorted to physical and even dangerous treatments, such as restraints. The medication of the 21st century works effectively and safely for a wide range of mental health conditions. 

Antidepressants

The most common medication used in the field of mental health is the antidepressant. Leveraged as intervention for depression, primarily, the antidepressant can also help with issues such as anxiety or attention deficits. Common antidepressants include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medication helps in both acute cases and in the long-term management of generalized anxiety. These medications can include:

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Buspirone
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics have an intimidating name, but their role is not only to treat psychosis. These medications can work well in the treatment of OCD, PTSD, and even eating disorders. Commonly prescribed antipsychotics can include:

  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • Lurasidone (Latuda)
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)

Stimulants

Stimulants act like common caffeine but in a much stronger way. What seems odd to some unfamiliar with their effects is that they work to calm high-energy conditions such as attention deficits or even some eating disorders. Common stimulants include:

  • Methylphenidate (Concerta)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Dextroamphetamine (ProCentra)
  • Adderall

The Management of Medication

Managing medication takes cooperation between doctor and patient, as well as responsibility and dedication from the patient herself. Adhering to all recommendations and dosages is part of a patient’s responsibility in this process.

Patients should not take medication that has not been prescribed to them by a doctor. This can put the patient in dangerous and even life-threatening situations.

A patient’s relationship with a medication can change in the long-term. Progress in therapy may mean that a patient needs less medication. Sometimes, a patient’s body goes through changes that changes the effect of a medication. This is why long-term medication management can be so important. Working with your doctor closely can help identify side effects and ensure that a medication is working well for you.