Managing Psychotropic Medication in Seattle, WA
Psychotropic medicine is the field of psychiatric pharmacology which encompasses the use of prescription medications designed to alter mental and physical states in the treatment of psychiatric and psychological disorders. These drugs alter chemical (neurotransmitter) levels in the brain which affect behavior, mood and other mental functions. Depression is the most widespread condition treated with psychotropic medication, but other conditions which are commonly addressed with medication include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety and Panic Disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Autism and Tourette's Syndrome.
There are several major classes of psychotropic medications commonly prescribed:
- Antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Mood stabilizers like Lithium
- Anti-anxiety medications like Benzodiazeprines
- Antipsychotic medications like Haloperiodol
- Drugs designed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder in children and adults like Amphetamines
- Drugs designed to treat drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors
Psychiatric medications may be used alone, but ideally are used in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral treatment, as well as individual and group psychotherapy. Psychotropic medication is especially helpful to help reduce symptoms that may be preventing a psychological treatment plan from being effective. In the case of an anxiety or panic disorder, for example, the symptoms may be so extreme as to prevent the client from performing certain aspects of the recommended treatment (e.g., attending therapy sessions, participating in exposure exercises, etc.). Anti-anxiety medication can be used as a short-term measure that allows cognitive-behavioral treatment and psychotherapy to gain a foothold in arresting the anxiety and panic attacks.
Management of physical conditions which may contribute to the expression of a mental illness is essential. It is also important to monitor possible interactions between psychotropic medications and medications prescribed for medical conditions. To schedule a consultation with a qualified psychiatric professional in Seattle that specializes in psychotropic medication management, call (206) 402-3375 or contact Psychiatry Northwest online.
What to Expect from Psychotropic Medication
Some psychotropic medications are designed as short-term interventions, while others are intended for long-term maintenance. Because it is difficult to predict how a patient will react to a particular psychotropic medication, it is important to weigh issues like family history, side effects of certain drugs and medical conditions. It is often a matter of trying different medications in different combinations for a prescribed period of time. Some psychotropic medications quickly produce results, but some may take weeks or even months to reach therapeutic levels and achieve the desired results. Drug levels also may need to be adjusted. Furthermore, each drug may have a different effect on one person than it will have on another. The patient's clinical history thus becomes an important tool for the prescribing clinician.
Most medications should not be stopped without the supervision of a physician, but this is especially true of psychiatric drugs. In most situations, it is necessary to taper off your dosage so that your brain chemistry can adjust. Abrupt cessation can have catastrophic consequences.
Older people are more likely to have multiple prescriptions, and this increases their risk of drug interaction issues. Certain drug side effects are also more pronounced in people as they age.
In pregnant women, the fetus is impacted by psychotropic medication and the prescribing physician or psychiatrist must weigh the pros and cons of continuing certain psychotropic medications.
Who Should Manage Your Use of Psychiatric Medications
In some cases, your medical doctor can prescribe certain psychotropic medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Oftentimes, a psychologist who may be providing cognitive-behavioral treatment can work closely with your doctor in managing the medications. More complex conditions may require the involvement of a psychiatrist. Even when a psychiatrist or psychologist are providing the treatment, however, your medical doctor should work closely with the treating psychiatrist and/or psychologist to ensure there are no interaction issues between the psychotropic medications and medications prescribed for medical conditions.
If you've been suffering from a psychological or psychiatric condition, psychotropic medication can be a safe and effective way to treat your condition. Request more information about psychotropic medication management today. Call (206) 402-3375 or contact Psychiatry Northwest online.
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