Psychiatric medication can have huge benefits, particularly when body chemistry levels are off. These meds can also aid the psychotherapy process, one of the most effective forms of treatment.
There’s a flip side too. Medications have side effects, and these can sometimes be serious. There are no standard dosages that work for everyone, and psychiatric medications may not always be necessary.
Jon Deam, MD of Dr. Jon Deam specializes in psychiatric medication management, adding useful medications, fine-tuning dosages, and eliminating those of questionable value. With a focus on life coaching, Dr. Jon targets your overall wellness largely through talk therapy, with the addition of psychiatric medications only when they’re beneficial to you.
The function of psychiatric medications
Many medications used to aid psychiatric treatment act on chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Changing the levels of particular neurotransmitters can alter their effects, bringing back a chemical balance and, ideally, bringing you back toward a neutral center. These drugs are only a treatment. They can’t correct the issues that cause the overproduction or underproduction of neurotransmitters, so they can’t cure the problem.
Types of medications
There are five general groups of psychiatric medications to draw from. Part of medication management is matching the right medication within each group to a patient, as well as finding the right dose.
As the name suggests, this group treats depression. Within the antidepressant group, there are many different types of drugs. Some of the most commonly used drugs include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which increase serotonin levels in the brain, a powerful mood regulator
- Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), which raise levels of norepinephrine, making you feel awake and energetic
- Bupropion, a drug that supports brain activity and is also used to help people quit smoking
Side effects of antidepressants can include:
- Insomnia and drowsiness
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dry mouth
Minimizing side effects can be important, since some can have a negative effect on the same properties they’re meant to improve.
2. Anti-anxiety medications
The physical symptoms that often accompany anxiety and panic attacks can be controlled by beta blockers, which help you break the anxiety cycle. Tranquilizers and sleep aid medications are sometimes used to moderate anxiety and insomnia, though they carry the risk of drug dependency.
Other potential side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Tiredness and fatigue
Sometimes, anti-anxiety medications may cause confusion or brain fog. Generally, medications in this group are prescribed only for short periods of time.
Treating conditions such as ADHD, depression, eating disorders obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and any conditions that may start to detach you from reality, antipsychotics can make you sleepy, cause weight gain, increase your appetite, or upset your stomach.
4. Mood stabilizers
Controlling extreme emotions, mood stabilizers don’t clear up negative feelings, but they do moderate the swings. They can be useful in treating bipolar disorder. Side effects include similar effects as the antipsychotics, as well as tremors, dizziness, blurry vision, and mental confusion.
Stimulant medications can calm and focus ADHD patients. They also suppress appetite and cause weight loss. Insomnia is another side effect of this group.
Contact Dr. Jon Deam if you feel you need a review of medications, or if you have any other concerns about your mental wellness. You can book a consultation by phone or online. Telehealth appointments are available in many cases. Schedule your session today.