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Medication Straight Talk
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When it comes to your emotional health, you might feel out of control. Sometimes, you are. This is because you might have a chemical imbalance in your brain, or an inability to produce certain neurotransmitters. That is why your provider might prescribe a specific medication to help regulate your mood, or your mental health. Medication is not your only option, and should be accompanied by consistent therapy and close monitoring. Your provider will tell you if you are a candidate for this medication, but it’s important that you avoid self-prescription. Even though you might here a lot about these drugs in the media and in advertisements, you need to realize that they are serious medications that have major impacts on your health. Usually, your provider won’t prescribe medication for your mental health unless it is absolutely necessary.

Antidepressants are prescribed for patients with mild to serious depression that is treated with medication usually lasts more than two weeks at a time and seriously affects your day-to-day life. When you are prescribed an antidepressant medication, your provider will also recommend a combination with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the same thing as “therapy” and entails talking to a licensed professional about the aspects of your life that might contribute to depression. Antidepressants make it easier for your brain to receive certain neurotransmitters, or chemicals that stabilize your emotions. Many antidepressants have negative side effects, including loss of sex drive and weight gain. If you are considering a prescription, it is important to evaluate the side effects in your decision and to think about whether you’re o.k. with the possibility of those side effects.

The FDA recently issued a Public Health Advisory that warns about a possible link between antidepressants, especially in the beginning stages of medication, and suicidal tendencies. Although the risk is low, it is still very important that you keep in close contact with your provider and make your friends and family aware that you are beginning a medication that might contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior. If suicidal thoughts become overwhelming or continue, medication should be changed or stopped immediately.

Antianxiety Medication is prescribed to treat patients with consistent anxiety, which is indicated by such symptoms as irritability, apprehension, jumpiness, irregular or fast heartbeat, nausea and breathing problems. Anxiety is often manifested in such disorders as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. These are central nervous system depressants that relieve symptoms of anxiety within a short period of time. There are relatively few side effects, but drowsiness, confusion, fatigue and loss of coordination are common reactions to the medication. For this reason, it is advised that you don’t drive or operate heavy machinery while on benzodiazepines. Furthermore, these drugs can react negatively and have serious and dangerous effects when mixed with alcohol and illicit drug use.

Antipsychotic and antimanic medications are for serious mental conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These drugs have major side effects and should only be prescribed in extreme situations. If you are diagnosed with a serious mental condition and have been prescribed an antipsychotic or antimanic drug, you should meet with your provider on a regular basis to maintain your treatment and to make sure that the drugs are effective and to ensure that you are using them correctly.