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psychiatric medication

We understand that navigating the world of psychiatric medications can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming. To help you feel more informed and comfortable, we have compiled information, including a list of frequently asked questions, about psychiatric medications. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


Symptom Relief

Medications can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms of mental health conditions, improving overall quality of life.

Enhanced Functioning

By managing symptoms, individuals can function better in their daily lives, including work, school, and personal relationships.

Improved Mood & Well-Being


Many psychiatric medications help stabilize mood and enhance an individual's overall emotional well-being.

Relapse Prevention

Consistent use of medications can help prevent the recurrence of symptoms or episodes, particularly in chronic conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Support for Therapy

Medications can complement psychotherapy, making it more effective by providing relief from severe symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Psychiatric Medications?

Psychiatric medications are drugs prescribed to help manage symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. These medications can help improve mood, thinking, and behavior, making it easier for individuals to function in their daily lives.

How Do Psychiatric Medications Work?

Psychiatric medications work by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain — chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. Different medications target different neurotransmitters to help balance mood, reduce anxiety, or control other symptoms.

How Long Does It Take for Psychiatric Medications to Work?

The time it takes for psychiatric medications to work can vary depending on the type of medication and the individual. Some people may start to notice improvements within a few days, while others may take several weeks to experience the full benefits. It is important to take the medication as prescribed and have regular follow-ups with your psychiatric provider to monitor progress.

How Are Medications Chosen for My Treatment?

Your psychiatric provider will consider several factors when choosing the best medication for you, including:

  • Your specific diagnosis and symptoms

  • Your medical history

  • Any other medications you are taking

  • Potential side effects

  • Your personal preferences


Are Psychiatric Medications Addictive?

Most psychiatric medications are not addictive. However, some medications, particularly certain anti-anxiety drugs and stimulants used to treat ADHD, have the potential for dependency. Your psychiatric provider will discuss the risks and benefits of these medications and monitor your use closely to prevent dependency.

Can I Stop Taking My Medication Once I Feel Better?

It is crucial not to stop taking your medication without consulting your psychiatric provider. Stopping abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms and a potential relapse of your condition. Your psychiatric provider can help you gradually taper off the medication if it is determined that you no longer need it.

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose?

If you miss a dose of your medication, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for the missed one. Always follow your psychiatric provider's instructions regarding missed doses.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Psychiatric Medications?

It is generally advised to avoid alcohol while taking psychiatric medications, as alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of the medication and increase the risk of side effects. Always consult your psychiatric provider before consuming alcohol.

Will I Need to Take Medication for the Rest of My Life?

The need for long-term medication varies from person to person. Some individuals may need medication for a limited time, while others may require long-term treatment to manage their condition effectively. Your psychiatric provider will work with you to determine the best course of action based on your individual needs.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications?

Side effects vary depending on the medication. Common side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, weight gain or loss, dry mouth, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. If you are concerned about any of these potential side effects, please discuss them with your psychiatric provider.

Common Treatment Options 


  • SSRIs: Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft)

  • SNRIs: Venlafaxine (Effexor), Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

  • Atypical Antidepressants: Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Mirtazapine (Remeron)

  • TCAs: Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline

  • MAOIs: Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Parnate)



  • Mood Stabilizers: Lithium, Valproate (Depakote)

  • Atypical Antipsychotics:  

  • Quetiapine (Seroquel), Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

  • Antidepressants (with mood stabilizers): SSRIs, SNRIs


  • Stimulants: Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), Amphetamine (Adderall)

  • Non-Stimulants: Atomoxetine (Strattera), Guanfacine (Intuniv)

What do these abbreviations mean?

  • SSRI - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor  

  • SNRI - Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor

  • TCA - Tricyclic Antidepressants

  • MAOI - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors


  • SSRIs: Escitalopram (Lexapro), Paroxetine (Paxil)

  • SNRIs: Venlafaxine (Effexor), Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

  • Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam (Xanax), Lorazepam (Ativan) (short-term use)

  • Buspirone: Buspar

  • Beta-Blockers: Propranolol (Inderal) (for performance anxiety)


  • Atypical Antipsychotics: Risperidone (Risperdal), Aripiprazole (Abilify)

  • Typical Antipsychotics: Haloperidol (Haldol), Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)

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