Managing Mental Health Issues with Medication: An Expert's Perspective

Psychiatric medications can be an effective tool in managing mental health issues, as they influence brain chemicals that regulate emotions and thought patterns. When combined with psychotherapy, these medications can reduce symptoms and help people live better lives. Antipsychotic medications can help reduce or eliminate the hearing of unwanted voices or very frightening thoughts, while promoting clear thinking, focus on reality, and a sense of organization and calm. They can also help people sleep better and communicate more effectively.

These medications come in pill form, which are taken daily, or in injectable form that lasts between 3 and 6 weeks, depending on the specific medication. Prescription medications can also play a key role in treating co-occurring disorders. They can reduce symptoms and prevent relapses of a psychiatric disorder, as well as minimize cravings and maintain abstinence from addictive substances. Mental health professionals offer regional programs and services to help people with serious mental illnesses and their families. If something related to your mental health medications bothers you, it's important to talk to your doctor or counselor about it before you stop taking any medications, as stopping suddenly can cause unwanted side effects. Growing up is difficult for everyone, and at every stage of development, from preschool to adolescence, there are challenges that test a child's emotional and mental health.

The Canadian Mental Health Association provides information on treatment options available for specific mental illnesses. To help you understand the most common types of medications used to treat symptoms of mental illness, here is a list:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiolytics
Therapy is also an important part of managing mental illness, and most treatment plans combine additional medications and therapies for the best results. When you work with a doctor to start taking medications for a mental health condition, there are a number of factors that play a role in deciding which medication is right for you, including a history of physical and mental health, family history, cost and side effects. People who have a mental illness often benefit from working with a team of health professionals to support different aspects of their health. If you or someone you know has symptoms of mental illness, it's critical that you talk to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible to begin developing a treatment plan that works best.

Medications can make the symptoms of mental illness go away or affect you less, but if you stop taking them, your symptoms may come back. Rehabilitation services and programs help people regain skills that they may have lost due to their mental illness and improve their level of functioning in their daily lives. Since 2003, organizations have been working together to help people live well and better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems. Medications usually go away a few weeks after you stop using them or if the healthcare provider reduces the dose. The HereToHelp fact sheet How to Work with Your Doctor to Treat a Mental Illness contains tips for people with mental illness to work with their health professional to create a treatment plan. Mood stabilizers are used to treat bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and other mental illnesses that cause people to experience extreme mood swings.

Education and reminders can be helpful, but if a patient is fully convinced that the medication is causing the symptoms of a mental health disorder, switching medications may be an option to address this problem.

Nikki Swancutt
Nikki Swancutt

Lifelong beer practitioner. Friendly social media advocate. Proud twitter fanatic. Unapologetic pop culture lover. Wannabe communicator.

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