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What is Psychiatric Medication Management?


Many mental health disorders will require a two-pronged approach for successful treatment: medication management combined with therapy or counseling. Our psychiatric nurse practitioner can prescribe medication to help with anything from ADHD to anxiety to depression. Medication management is a vital part of this equation, as not all medications will be received or tolerated by patients in the same way.  That’s why psychiatric nurse practitioners provide psychiatric medication management and assessments. This can seem pretty scary, especially if you’ve never taken such medications before or have taken them before but experienced bad side effects.

There can certainly be a lot of unknowns; however, understanding how a psychiatric nurse practitioner can help you and truly knowing what medication management means is key to feeling comfortable and at ease with the recommended treatment plan.

Because our mental well-being is directly connected to our overall physical health, stress and trauma can leave us feeling anxious, hopeless and overwhelmed. When these feelings go untreated for long periods of time, major psychological and physical illnesses can result. In addition, associated behaviors can become addictive and destructive.

That’s why it’s equally as important to have regular physicals and checkups from your primary care physician. The other part of the equation is to get regular mental health checkups, too.

What to Expect

When you first see your practitioner, he or she will perform an initial psychiatric evaluation, which will include an overview of your symptoms and a collection of your medical history. A determination will then be made about whether or not medication is a viable option for treating your particular mental health disorder.

Based on the evaluation, the provider will then make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan designed with your specific needs in mind. The decision is ultimately up to the patient. If it is decided to move forward with this option, various medications, possible side effects, and proper dosages will be discussed.

Initially, the medication will be prescribed for a trial period to observe and monitor its effectiveness. This is where the “medication management” portion of psychiatric care comes into play. If the treatment is meeting the patient’s goals, the patient will be advised to keep moving forward. However, different medications affect brain chemistry in difference ways, so not everyone will respond well to a particular prescription.

This may result in side effects like inability to sleep, irritability, nausea and more. In those cases, a different medication will be prescribed. This is often a trial-and-error process that should eventually result in the right medication for you.

In addition to medication, other forms of treatment such as counseling, life management skills, and behavioral therapies may be offered in conjunction. Your provider will carefully monitor all of these components to ensure the best blend for the patient’s mental health.

It’s important to note that not all patients,  and not all psychiatric problems require medicine. However, there are many instances where prescription medicines are the best way to relieve symptoms for the patient. Medication can be an effective part of the treatment of many mental illnesses such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Panic

  • Sleep problems

  • ADHD

  • Schizophrenia

If you are experiencing mental health issues and wish to discuss whether medication is a good option for you, please contact us today for help. Medication management visits require an hour for the first visit and 30 minutes for subsequent visits. During your appointment, your nurse practitioner will review the benefits and side effects of your medication and make adjustments as required. Counseling and psychotherapy may also be recommended depending on your specific issue.

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