Managing Anxiety Medication and Other Mental Health Medicines

Medication Management

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a behavioral health disorder, your mental health professional may prescribe medication, such as an anti-anxiety med, anti-depression prescription, or anti-psychotic drug.

Mental health medications typically are given in addition to other treatments such as individual or group therapy, psychological assessment, nutrition counseling, exercise and other recreational therapeutic activities. Whether a physician has prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, anti-psychotic drug, or another medication, careful management is important for both your physical and mental health.

What Is Medication Management?

When you are diagnosed with a mental health condition, one of the treatment options your healthcare provider might recommend is one or more medications. However, each individual and their symptoms react differently to medications, so what might be beneficial for one patient might not improve another person’s condition—or could even cause detrimental side effects. Generally, you’ll start taking a medication, such as an anxiety medication, on a trial basis to see how it affects you. Your physician will watch you closely during the initial period to assess any negative side effects. Often, the medication may be increased over time to allow your body to become accustomed to it. Once you are taking the medication at full dose and seeing benefit, your physician will continue to work with you to assess its effectiveness and to evaluate how it fits with the rest of your treatment plan.

Why Is Medication Management Important?

Medications used to treat behavioral health disorders can be accompanied by risks and side effects. Your provider will walk through with you what is normal and what might signal a serious side effect. In addition, if you have other physical or behavior health issues, and you’re taking multiple medications, it’s essential to work with you physician to avoid dangerous interactions.

Medication management is also important if you and your physician determine that you no longer need a specific drug. Often there can be adverse effects if you quit a medication abruptly. Your physician can work with you on a tapering plan that lets you alter the dosage or frequency of the medication over time so your body can get used to the change.

Obtaining Medication Management Care

If you are being treated for a behavioral health issue or a mental health condition by a trained psychiatrist, that doctor will determine if medication might be an effective treatment. If so, your psychiatrist will write the prescription and provide the immediate follow-up care. Sometimes, your family physician or primary care provider may be able to refill prescriptions and manage your medication long-term if you are stable.

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