The decision to use medication to manage mental health conditions should be a thoughtful decision made between the provider and the patient. Medication management for mental health conditions is unique in that the primary provider with the most contact with the patient may not be the one who prescribes medication. A patient may see a psychologist or other licensed counselor and have medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or a family physician.
In physical health, a condition that requires medication is generally overseen by one doctor who monitors the patient’s condition, overall health, and responsiveness to drugs in treating the condition. This process is more complex in mental health disorders. The prescribing doctor may not be the primary provider of mental health care for the patient. This potential disconnect makes professional medication management a valuable tool.
An open and accessible relationship with the prescribing doctor is necessary to find the right medication or combination of medications. Mental health conditions rarely stay in a steady state. Lack of positive progress can be triggered by stress, life circumstances, and coinciding medical conditions. This fluidity is why patients need access to skilled professionals dedicated to medication management.
Some medications used to treat the above conditions can be habit-forming, and others have the potential for abuse. In addition, it can be dangerous to stop taking the medication without the supervision of a physician. These reasons further add to the need for professional medication management.
A professional medication manager makes it more difficult for a patient to abuse their medications. They can ensure patient compliance with taking the medication as directed. If weaning or dosage changes are necessary, they can monitor the patient for signs and symptoms of problems associated with coming off the medication. When a patient does not have professional oversite, there is a potential danger to their mental and physical health.
Medication is only a potential part of the overall treatment plan for conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. A psychological exam is typically needed to diagnose a mental health disorder. Once a diagnosis is determined, then an initial treatment plan is formed. The treatment plan will depend on the diagnosis and how impaired the patient is at the time of diagnosis.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis that often needs both psychological and pharmaceutical treatment. Medication options include anti-depressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety meds. The need for these medications may decrease as psychotherapy helps