General Psychiatry

Psychiatric Medications


Psychiatric medications influence the brain chemicals that regulate emotions and thought patterns. They’re usually more effective when combined with psychotherapy. In some cases, medicines can reduce symptoms so other methods of a treatment plan can be more effective. For example, a medication can ease symptoms of depression like loss of energy and lack of concentration, allowing an individual to engage more in talk therapy.

However, predicting who will respond to what medication can be difficult because different medications may work better for one person than for another. Doctors usually review clinical history to see if evidence exists for recommending one medicine over another. They also consider family history and side effects when prescribing medication.

Be persistent until you find the medication (or combination of medications) that works for you.


How Long Does It Take For Medication To Work?

A few psychiatric medications work quickly, and you will see improvements within days, but most work more slowly. You may need to take a medication for 1-2 weeks before you see improvement. If you feel as though a medication isn’t working, or you’re having side effects, consult with your doctor to discuss possible adjustments. Many people won’t experience side effects, or they will go away within a few weeks, but if they continue, changing medications or dosage will often help.

Once the best medication and dosage have been established, a maintenance dose will be determined from then onward, to help avoid a return of symptoms. This may be needed for some months or longer, depending on need.

How Medication Is Taken?

Treatment typically consists of pills or capsules taken daily. Some can also be available as liquids or injections. People who have difficulty remembering to take medications daily or people with a history of stopping medication may have better results by taking medication as a long acting injection at the hospital once or twice a month. This means that the medication releases slowly from a muscle over a period of time, usually between a week and a month. Some people prefer injections because they are not good at remembering to take tablets, or just because it makes life simpler.

Your provider will likely start at a low dose and slowly increase dosage to achieve a level that improves symptoms. Following your doctor’s instructions will reduce side effects and discomfort when possible.

Can I Share Medications With Others Having The Same Condition?

Don’t share medication: your medication is designed for you and no one else. Don’t take anyone else’s medication and don’t let anyone take yours. It can do real harm.

Talking To Doctors About Medication

Here’s a list of some useful things you might want to discuss with your doctor.