Overview of Medication
Psychotropic/psychiatric medications are prescribed when symptoms of mental or emotional illness are severe, persistent, and interfere with normal functioning.
Psychotropic drugs help control symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, profound sadness, depression, disrupted patterns of appetite and sleep, confused thinking, poor concentration, altered perceptions and sensations, and discomfort from physical pain.
All drugs require careful monitoring and may necessitate initial and ongoing lab work and blood tests, special dietary restrictions, and lifestyle changes. Some of the newer medications target specific neurotransmitters and provide more effective treatment with manageable doses and fewer side effects such as sedation and addictive qualities.
Whenever psychotropic medication is prescribed, counseling may be recommended. Counseling and medication often facilitate treatment and hasten a return to health and well-being.
What Can Be Done
What You Need to Know
A doctor-patient relationship in which trust, mutual respect, and open communication exists is one of the keys to successful treatment. Medication is no magic cures for emotional of psychological pain. There are several factors to consider when working with a physician to determine if psychotropic medication is appropriate for you:
- What is the diagnosis, and why is a particular medication recommended? What symptoms relief can you expect and when? By all means take medication as prescribed, but what should you do if you happen to miss a dose?
- What are common side effects (routine or predicted reactions) and how long will they last? Be ware of possible adverse reactions (such as rash, severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting, breathing difficulties, etc.) and what should you do?
- What initial and ongoing medical tests/lab work (usually to rule out other medical problems and establish a baseline from which to gauge the therapeutic dose for you) are required?
- How long will you be on medication, and how do you discontinue (taper off) the drug?
- Will your routine activities or diet be restricted in any way?
- What follow-up medication appointments and treatment sessions are required?
Consider your options (perhaps get a second opinion), weigh the risks, and make the best, most informed decision for yourself.
How We Can Help
You can schedule an intake with a counselor at North Hall by calling (530) 752-2349. Acute Care drop-in services are available on the first floor of the Student Health and Wellness Center.