Prescribing Perspective: The Role of Medication in Mental Health Treatment

Prescribing Perspective: The Role of Medication in Mental Health Treatment

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

The intersection of medication and mental health is a terrain marked by both profound relief and intricate challenges. Psychiatric medications, while often life-changing for many, bring with them a host of considerations; from the nuances of brain chemistry to the stigma surrounding their use. This article aims to unpack the complex role that medication plays in the management of mental health, exploring its potential as a tool for healing and the critical dialogue surrounding its use in contemporary mental health care.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI[1] ), “psychiatric medications influence the brain chemicals that regulate emotions and thought patterns. They are usually more effective when combined with psychotherapy. In some cases, medicines can reduce symptoms so other methods of a treatment plan can be more effective.”

It is important to mention some basic facts about medication[2] : Medications are not cures; every medicine has its benefits and its risk; medications often help the most when they are part of an overall treatment program; it can take time to feel better. “Researches believe that the symptoms of mental illness come from chemical imbalances in a person’s brain. A medication works on these imbalances to reduce symptoms, or sometimes, to relieve them completely[3] .”

“There are several different types of drugs available to treat mental illnesses- Some of the most commonly used are antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, mood stabilizing, and stimulant medications.” What drugs are used to treat depression[4] ?

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as citalopram.
  • Selective serotonin & norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs), such as desvenlafaxine.
  • Novel serotonergic drugs, such as vortioxetine.
  • Older tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
  • Drugs that are thought to affect mainly dopamine and norepinephrine such as bupropion.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as isocarboxazid.
  • Tetracyclic antidepressants are noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSAs), such as mirtazapine.
  • L-methylfolate (Deplin) has proven successful in treating depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health[5] , “medications can play a role in treating mental health disorders and conditions and are often used in combination with other treatment approaches such as psychotherapies and brain stimulation therapies. Medications can affect people in different ways, and it may take several tries to find the medication that is most effective with the fewest side effects.”

In conclusion, medication can be a crucial cornerstone in the edifice of mental health treatment, offering support and relief for a range of psychiatric conditions. However, its use must be carefully tailored to the individual, with a mindful approach to potential side effects and long-term implications. Collaboration between healthcare providers and patients is essential in navigating the path to wellness, ensuring the medication serves as a bridge to a more balanced and fulfilling life.







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