Psychiatric medication management requires a complete understanding of the patient’s current and past medical status, and, in some cases, may involve a focal physical examination, laboratory work or even imaging studies. Psychiatric medication services may be provided to patients indefinitely, if needed.
Generally, a psychotropic medication is prescribed in conjunction with psychotherapy.
In a small percentage of cases, medication may be prescribed without a patient’s involvement in concurrent psychotherapy. Generally, this is done in relation to more chronic conditions where a patient has previously received psychotherapy and needs only to remain on psychotropic medication for continued symptom management and relapse prevention.
Sometimes when patients have difficulties that are causing some degree of functional impairment, the adjunctive prescription of psychotropic medication (antidepressants, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers, etc.) may be indicated. In these instances patients are seen by a psychiatrist for an initial medication evaluation, or may be referred by a counselor or psychologist when the condition is severe enough to merit such intervention. If medication is prescribed, patients will be scheduled for follow-up medication management appointments for the duration of the period on which they remain on psychotropic medication.
The length of time for which pharmacotherapy (medical treatment using medications) is indicated varies by patient and condition. If necessary, medication services can be provided indefinitely.
As will all medications, patients taking psychiatric medications may experience side effects. Before prescribing a new medication, your provider will review any predictable side effects you may experience and any potential for more serious reactions. In most cases, side effects are mild and short lived. For some people, however, side effects can persist for an indefinite period of time and may require follow-up consult with your provider for management strategies.
In the rare event that you experience a serious allergic reaction (e.g. a problem breathing or swallowing or hives), report to your local emergency room for an evaluation, or phone 911 if necessary. The prescribing doctor should be informed of such reactions as soon as possible.
NEVER stop or adjust your medication on your own. Please consult your provider for instructions to safely transition away from your medication. Often, there is likely to be more than one medication available which may work for you and your provider will be able to prescribe a different medication, keeping your experience in mind.