What is Psychiatric Medication Management?
Many psychiatric disorders will require a two-pronged approach for successful treatment: medication combined with psychotherapy or counseling. A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can prescribe medication to help with anything from ADHD, Depression to Bipolar Disorder. A psychiatric or psychotropic medication is a psychoactive drug taken to exert an effect on the chemical makeup of the brain and nervous system. Thus, these medications are used to treat mental illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety, Trauma associated disorders, mood disorders, Bipolar Disorders, ADHD and more... 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 monitoring medications, their side effects and their possible interactions with other medications is critical. A big part of what Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners do is provide psychiatric medication management, assessments and follow ups. 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 Psychiatrist 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 as well.
What to Expect
When you first see your Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, he or she will perform an initial checkup called an Initial Psychiatric Evaluation, which will include an overview of your symptoms and collection of your medical history. A determination will then be made about whether medication is a viable option for treating your particular mental health disorder.
Based on this assessment, the Psychiatric 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 at low doses, 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 sought in conjunction. The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner 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:
· Bipolar disorder
· Sleep problems
Contact NoCo New Beginnings
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 20-30 minutes for subsequent follow up visits. During your appointment, your psychiatric Nurse Practitioner will review the benefits and side effects of your medication and adjust as required. Counseling and psychotherapy may also be recommended depending on your specific issue. Determining whether the medication is working as it should with minimal side effects, tracking and organizing prescriptions, and providing medication education management.
Depression, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common and uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives. Through counseling and psychiatric medication management, we are able to help you recover motivation, perspective, and joy that you once had in your life.
Antidepressants are drugs used to treat clinical depression, and they are also often used for anxiety and other disorders. Most antidepressants will hinder the breakdown of serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine. A commonly used class of antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which act on serotonin transporters in the brain to increase levels of serotonin in the synaptic cleft. Another is the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which increase both serotonin and norepinephrine. Antidepressants will often take 3–5 weeks to have a noticeable effect as the regulation of receptors in the brain adapts. There are multiple classes of antidepressants which have different mechanisms of action.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
· Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
· Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
· Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have a high potential for harm, or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
Signs and Symptoms
Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.
In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity.
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity, and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:
· are more severe
· occur more often
· interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job.
Common Simulant medications:
A stimulant is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system, increasing arousal, attention and endurance. Stimulants are used in psychiatry to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Because the medications can be addictive, patients with a history of drug abuse are typically monitored closely or treated with a non-stimulant.
· Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), the active dextro-enantiomer of methylphenidate
· Dextroamphetamine(Dexedrine), the dextro-enantiomer of amphetamine
Many individuals can experience symptoms associated with painful and traumatic circumstances. Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are a few emotions that can linger post traumatic events. We can help you overcome these symptoms and guide you through the process of grief and healing.
While most but not all traumatized people experience short term symptoms, the majority do not develop ongoing (chronic) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.
A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. The symptoms can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Cognition and mood symptoms can begin or worsen after the traumatic event, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated or detached from friends or family members.
It is natural to have some of these symptoms for a few weeks after a dangerous event. When the symptoms last more than a month, seriously affect one’s ability to function, and are not due to substance use, medical illness, or anything except the event itself, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.
Both psychiatric medication management and Counseling can be beneficial to individuals who are looking to strengthen their emotional connection, in all stages of their relationship. At this time we recommend patients have a separate therapist. We can help refer you to a therapist.