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Psychiatric Medication Treatment

Starting Psychiatric Medication Treatment: The Keys to Success

This section provides information for people who have recently begun taking psychiatric medications or are considering medication treatment.

It is very important you find the clinician or combination of clinicians that is right for you and your individual needs. Psychiatrist do not just provide medications. They listen to your concerns, support you, help you to overcome difficulties and work in collaboration with your other care team, ensuring you are receiving the best care possible.

Treatment through medication requires a firm, consistent and ongoing commitment. It is a long term investment, not a quick fix.  You need patience as it may take some time before you start to experience the full benefits of your medication treatment.

There could be many factors that affect the action and reaction of your body to these medications. These may include the chemical processes in the brain. Some medications are fast acting however most medications take a while to take effect.  Talk with your Psychiatrist to gauge a realistic time frame for the medication you have been prescribed.

Medication adjustments

Medications may require adjustments. Please ensure that this is done under the supervision of your Psychiatrist, even if you feel like “it’s not working” or your symptoms have improved or subsided.  Stopping medications abruptly can have very negative consequences.

You may also encounter side effects that range from just unpleasant feeling to more serious reaction. If either occur please call and discuss options with Psychiatrist. However if you feel that it may be more serious or life threatening, please call 000 or go to your nearest hospital.

Importance of committing to appointments

Committing to your appointments is a necessary part of your recovery, especially in the early phase of the treatment.  This will allow your physiatrist to monitor your treatment, your progress and make changes where and when needed.

Taking your medication

The timing of your medication is very important. Taking your medication consistently as per your Psychiatrist’s instructions guarantees that you are getting the full benefit of your medication.  It may help to have a medication organizer, a set time of the day you take your medication or setting an automated reminder, whichever will help you to stick to your medication routine.

Supplementing your medication with psychology

Your psychiatrist may suggest that you supplement medication treatment with psychotherapy or other non-medical interventions. Psychotherapy is often helpful in not only treating psychiatric symptoms directly, but in helping people overcome the challenges of sticking to their medication schedule.

Recreational drugs, Alcohol and Psychiatric Medications

The risks in regards to the consumption of recreational drugs and or alcohol are much greater and often can be fatal for individuals with mental health disorders and those taking psychiatric medications.

Alcohol and drug use can increase any underlying risks for mental disorders. Mental disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other outside factors. The use of drugs and alcohol can make treating or managing a mental health disorder much more difficult.  Substance use/abuse may increase dramatically symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. It can also interact with medications, making them less effective.

“Drugs and alcohol can have negative, and potentially dangerous, effects when combined with certain psychiatric medications”. See the FDA website for more information about psychiatric medications and safety.

The chance of people with mental health disorders developing alcohol and drug dependency are much higher.

If you have a mental health disorder and/or are taking a psychiatric medication, it is extremely important that you discuss any recreational drug and or alcohol use with your psychiatrist.

When talking to your psychiatrist or psychologist it is of great benefit to you that you’re honest and open about your drug or alcohol use. Your supporting team are not there to judge you. Their first priority is your health and safety, physically and mentally.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your medications or any of the above, please call the clinic to organise an appointment with one of our clinicians.

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