Medication can be a common component of an overarching treatment plan for many mental health conditions. Many medications are available to help treat the symptoms of mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD, and more. Medication management can be an important part of a treatment and recovery plan. When individuals are on an effective medication regimen, they are often able to better engage in other parts of their treatment plan, including various forms of therapy.
Every medication impacts different people in different ways; a medication that works well for you may not work well for someone else. A psychiatrist or nurse practitioner may need to try multiple types of medication before finding what works best for you.
Prior to trying a new medication, your clinician will complete a psychiatric and physical evaluation. Your clinician will educate you about:
- Your diagnosis
- Why you are trying a certain medication
- What the goals are for the medication
- Any potential side effects you should be aware of
- Any potential risks of using the medication
During your evaluation, let your clinician know about any allergies you have. You should also tell them about any medications or supplements you are currently taking.
After starting a new medication for a mental health condition, your clinician will regularly check in with you to see if you are feeling any relief. They will also make sure that any side effects you experience are not impacting your daily life too much. It is important to be honest with your clinician about medication compliance, side effects, and whether or not the medication is working for you.
If you and your clinician find that the medication is not working for you, you will continue working together to find a medication that does. This period of evaluating the effectiveness of a medication is known as medication management. Some individuals do not experience relief with the first medication they try; you should continue working with your clinician to find a medication that works for you.
When taking any medication, it is important to take your medication exactly as prescribed. It is also important to talk with your clinician before starting or stopping any medication. Call your clinician immediately if you have problems with your medication, or if you have any worrying side effects.