Mental illness is not simply a matter of brain chemistry. Mental disorders can arise from a combination of biological, psychological, or social factors, and for that reason, the best mental health treatment is often a multi-faceted approach that’s different for each individual.
When mental health issues arise, medication can be one important component of treatment. Although there’s no cure for mental health disorders, medications, and other interventions can help significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Psychiatric medications work by influencing the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for emotions, behavior, and mood. Certain types of psychiatric drugs can even help relieve the physical symptoms of mental health conditions. If you are thinking of starting a mental health medication, it can be helpful to understand the different types of psychiatric medications and how they work.
Antidepressants are perhaps the most widely used mental health medication. These drugs are used to treat depression and can also help with anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions. Antidepressant medication works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, which regulate mood and emotion. Commonly prescribed antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and atypical antidepressants. Follow this link for an in-depth analysis of antidepressant medications and other depression treatments.
#2: Mood Stabilizers
Mood stabilizers are another type of mental health medication used to treat bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental illnesses in which mood fluctuations are a symptom. These medications can help relieve symptoms in people struggling with things like depression and mania. Commonly prescribed mood stabilizers include Lithobid (lithium), Depakote (valproate), and Tegretol (carbamazepine).
Antipsychotic medications are a type of prescribed medication used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and other psychoses. These drugs work by reducing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are thought to be involved in mental illness. Commonly prescribed antipsychotic medication includes haloperidol, loxapine, and trifluoperazine. Atypical antipsychotics include Seroquel (quetiapine), Saphris (asenapine), Abilify (aripiprazole), Invega (paliperidone), Risperdal (risperidone), and Zyprexa (olanzapine).
Anxiolytics, also known as anti-anxiety medications, are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. These drugs work by reducing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA and serotonin. Commonly prescribed anxiolytics include benzodiazepines and buspirone. Benzodiazepines are typically only used to treat severe anxiety because they have addictive qualities. For this reason, a psychiatrist may prescribe other medications before they prescribe benzodiazepines. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazopam). Follow this link to learn more about anxiolytics.
Stimulant medications are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which can help improve focus, concentration, and other cognitive functions. Commonly prescribed stimulants include Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine).
#6: Sleep Medications
Sleep medications, also known as hypnotics, are used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. This psychiatric medication works by slowing down the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA and serotonin, which can help induce relaxation and restful sleep. Commonly prescribed sleep medications include zolpidem, eszopiclone, and temazepam.
It’s important to remember that these medications all work differently for different people, and it may take some time to find the right medication and dosage for you. Additionally, psychotropic drugs can have side effects and should be used with caution. It’s best to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of psychotropic drugs before starting a new medication. With proper care, psychotropic medications can be an essential tool in managing mental health issues and improving quality of life.
Which Medication Is Right For Your Mental Health Condition?
Choosing the proper psychotropic medication can be tricky. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your mental health condition and any symptoms you are experiencing. Your healthcare provider will take into account factors such as age, medical history, lifestyle, side effects from other mental health medications, and more in determining which psychotropic drugs may be best for you. Additionally, your doctor may recommend lifestyle and behavioral changes in addition to medication to further improve mental health outcomes.
It’s also important to remember that no two people are the same, and what works for one person may not work for another. Remain open-minded and patient as you and your healthcare provider figure out what works best for you. Finally, make sure to keep an open dialogue with your healthcare provider and be honest about any side effects or concerns you may have about mental health medications. With the proper care, psychotropic medications can help improve mental health outcomes and quality of life.
Who Can Prescribe Psychiatric Medications?
In the United States, only a physician or other healthcare professional with a medical license can prescribe psychiatric medications. This includes psychiatrists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. It’s important to find a healthcare provider you trust and who is knowledgeable about mental health conditions and treatments. Additionally, many states have mental health laws that allow psychologists and other mental health professionals to prescribe medications under certain circumstances.
Remember that psychiatric medications are not a cure-all and should be used as part of an overall treatment plan. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have, including potential side effects and how long it may take for the medication to work. With personalized care, psychiatric medications can be a valuable tool in improving mental health outcomes.
What Are Some Alternative Treatments for Medication-Resistant Mental Health Conditions?
When you grapple with medication-resistant mental health conditions, you may want to consider alternative treatments. These include counseling and therapy, lifestyle changes such as nutrition and exercise, relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, and complementary therapies like art or music therapy.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is another form of treatment that can be used to help individuals with certain mental health conditions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS for short, is a non-invasive treatment that works by treating the brain directly with gentle pulses. TMS is FDA-approved and highly effective for depression, OCD, migraines with aura, and cigarette cessation.
Alternative treatments like talk therapy, TMS, and lifestyle modifications can work as stand-alone treatments, or work in conjunction with medications and even help increase the effectiveness of psychotropic medications by addressing any underlying issues that may be contributing to mental health problems. These treatments are also beneficial for those who cannot tolerate the side effects of certain mental health medications or prefer not to take prescription drugs for their condition. Neuro Wellness Spa was one of the first organizations to offer TMS therapy; if you have any questions about this novel depression treatment, don’t hesitate to call.
No matter what treatment option you choose, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Mental health issues can be overwhelming, but with the right care and support, you can find relief and get back on track. With personalized attention and the right combination of treatments, medication-resistant mental health conditions can be managed effectively.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, there are several kinds of mental health medications available to treat mental health conditions. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each kind of medication to determine which one may be best for you. With the right care and guidance, medications can play an essential role in improving mental health outcomes and quality of life.
If you are looking for personalized and evidence-based mental health care, consider connecting with our care team at Neuro Wellness Spa. We provide comprehensive care for mental health conditions and strive to help you find the best treatment plan for your unique needs. With our online psychiatry services, we make it easy to access quality care from anywhere in California. Contact us today to see how we can help you or a loved one on the path to better mental health.