Understanding Medication Management
Medication serves an important role in mental healthcare. It can aid patients in crisis or manage conditions in the long term. While some patients benefit from therapy alone, many need a combination of medication and therapy interventions.
Whatever a patient’s relationship with medication, managing that medication is an essential component of the process. Patients and health care providers work together to ensure that they have the right balance of medication and that the intervention is having the right effect on the patient’s mental state. After writing a prescription, a doctor or nurse practitioner typically schedules a follow-up appointment shortly thereafter, at which point the doctor or nurse practitioner can assess the patient’s status.
Things can change over time, as well. Those with chronic conditions and long-term medication programs may find that their bodies have adjusted and adapted to their existing dose. In these scenarios, health care providers may need to adjust a dosage; in many medication management scenarios, too, a doctor or nurse practitioner may need to ensure that substance abuse or addiction is not present.
The Benefits of Medication for Mental Illness
Including medication in your mental health interventions is a personal choice. Our professionals respect the decisions you make around this sensitive issue. Making the best choice, however, involves having a real understanding of the benefits of medication and dispelling some of its stereotypes.
Taking medication to help with mental health issues is relatively common; in fact, one in six Americans take medication as part of their mental health plan. Patients should not feel like they are an extreme case if they are taking medication.
Many, too, are mistaken in believing that all medications are addictive or that it will cause them to disengage from others in some way. Medication affects each patient differently and side effects vary. Additionally, responsible doctors or nurse practitioners only prescribe medications that come with a risk of addiction when it is absolutely necessitated by a patient’s situation.
Moreover, patients need to understand that medications may not be their best options even if they work well for others. Patients should work with their doctor or nurse practitioner to find the best medications for their particular situation.
The Types of Illnesses that Benefit from Medication
Not every mental health issue is best treated with medication. Low self esteem issues, as an example, can not be treated with medication. In these scenarios, therapy is likely the best approach.
Oftentimes, a combination of medication and therapy makes for the best mental health plan. Someone with an anxiety disorder, for example, can ameliorate anxiety via medication while also building tools in therapy to deal with the disorder.
In other cases, however, medications is the main component of a mental health plan, as with depression related to chemical imbalances in the brain.
The Pros and Cons of Medication
It is important for patients to consider the pros and cons of medication before making a decision:
- An effective part of the holistic approach
- Can speed recovery
- Ameliorates symptoms so that patient can focus on therapy
- Improves quality of life
- Addresses issues of biology
- May come with side effects
- Needs the management of a mental health professional to avoid dangers
- Finding dosage balance can take time
- Can come with stigma
Managing Medication Therapy
Managing medication effectively involves patient attention and responsibility. Patients need to adhere to their health care provider’s instructions and prescribed dosages. Any variations in dosage can interfere with the management process.
Additionally, individuals should never take psychiatric medication unless a doctor or nurse practitioner has prescribed it to them. Taking medication without a doctor or nurse practitioner’s management and guidance is dangerous.
Even in well-managed scenarios, a patient’s relationship to a medication can evolve over time. Bodies adjust and therapy may affect how much medicine is necessary. Working with a health care provider closely is the best way to ensure that you are getting the right amount of the right medicines.
Make sure to check in with your doctor or nurse practitioner regularly when you start a new medication or switch prescriptions. Your doctor or nurse practitioner is best able to identify side effects and assess the medication’s effect on your system.