Medication management plays a key role in a comprehensive mental health treatment plan. Using a medication management service takes much of the guesswork and confusion out of psychiatric medication and provides many tangible benefits over simply receiving a prescription and being given no support.

Medication management is so much more than simply finding a prescription. It provides space and time to work directly with your psychiatrist, tailored care to your unique needs, and adjustments to your regimen as needed if your personal health goals evolve or shift.

The benefits of medication management are hard to understate. But, seven key perks make this model of psychiatric care a pivotal component in the comprehensive mental health treatment options provided by Plus by APN.

1. Finding the Right Medication

First and foremost, medication management ensures that you find the right medication for your mental health needs. Even with ongoing advances in personalized medicine and newer, more effective medication options, the fact is that the right medication still isn’t always the first medication.

Take depression as an example. Depression medications fall into multiple classes, including:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Selective norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants

Each of these drug classes, in turn, has several different prescription medications available that are FDA-approved for treating depression. There are dozens of effective depression medication options available, and even drugs within the same class can vary significantly in how much they improve the symptoms that impact your life the most.

Medication management provides clients with the time to assess and compare medication options over time, helping you and your psychiatrist collaborate together to find the treatment options that work best for you. Your psychiatrist can provide expert-level insight into which medications they think would work best and assist you in changing medications if your first option doesn’t work as well as you hoped.

In some cases, this may mean trying multiple medication options over the course of weeks or months. In others, it may mean adding supplementary medications to help you achieve your personal mental health goals.

But by starting medication management, instead of simply seeking a prescription from your primary health provider, you can work directly with a mental health professional to help tailor your medications to your exact needs.

2. Ensuring Proper Dosage

Another critical component in making sure your medication works as intended is finding the appropriate dosage. Each person reacts differently to medication, with some people needing larger doses to feel an effect and others responding positively to smaller dosage regimens.

Dosage requirements change over time as well. With most medications, people begin to build tolerance to the medication’s effects. Since medication management extends throughout this timeframe, your psychiatrist can adjust your dosage to continue providing you with the mental health benefits you seek.

Balancing your dosage of medication plays a pivotal role in preventing unwanted side effects as well. Taking too much of certain medications can lead to effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite

Not all side effects can be avoided. But by working closely with a psychiatrist in medication management, you can find the appropriate balance between quality-of-life improvements and minimizing unwanted side effect symptoms.

3. Choosing Appropriate Timing

When you take your medications is often just as important as which medications you take or your prescribed dosage. Certain medications are meant to be taken first thing in the morning, while others are designed to be taken just before bed. Some need to be taken multiple times a day, with meals, or in response to the symptoms you experience.

Importantly, the timing of medications often changes based on your experience with the medication. Changing the timing of medication can prevent certain side effects, enhance the benefits of the medication you experience, or simply make it easier for you to stay on course with your mental health treatment plan.

Working with your psychiatrist in medication management gives you the opportunity to share your experiences with your medication with your psychiatrist at regular intervals. This provides the opportunity to get in-depth insight into how your medication timing can be adjusted to fit better into your life and align with your preferences.

4. Preventing Medication Errors

Medication errors are exceptionally common in the United States, with the FDA receiving more than 100,000 reports each year of suspected medication errors. Further investigations have found that medication errors lead to as many as 9,000 deaths yearly.

With over 65% of the adult population in the United States being prescribed prescription drugs — and each medication having unique effects, interactions, and safety requirements — it is easy to see how medication use at home can frequently go wrong. Yet these errors can be prevented through proper medication education in a medication management program.

Psychiatrists are much more than mental health prescription writers. They are also fully trained medical doctors with extensive education in not just how certain medications can affect mental health, but also how they may interact with other medications, medical conditions, and your body at large.

Your psychiatrist can provide specialized training and education in preventing common medication errors, such as combining medications, drinking or using drugs while taking your medication, or even engaging in seemingly harmless activities, such as drinking grapefruit juice with your medication.

5. Reducing Side Effects

Psychiatric medications have a wide range of effects on your brain and body. While the effects of these medications can often substantially reduce the symptoms of mental health conditions, some unwanted effects can appear as well.

While each medication has a different side effect profile, common side effects from psychiatric medication include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Unexpected weight changes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog

Only by working with a psychiatrist directly can you take targeted action to reduce the impact these side effects have on your everyday life. There are dozens of ways to help mitigate the side effects of psychiatric medication, from adjusting the dosage to changing the timing of medications.

But your psychiatrist may also be able to prescribe additional medications that help manage these unwanted side effects. Symptoms such as sleep disruption or nausea are often easily treated with supplementary medications, making it easier for you to achieve your mental health goals.

Medication management places your quality of life and well-being as the highest priority. While some side effects may be unavoidable, medication management ensures that they are within tolerable limits to help you break free from the challenges of a mental health condition.

6. Aligning Treatment With Your Goals

As people progress through the medication management process, they will often experience changes in the goals they have for treatment, for their lives, and for their medication regimen. By continuing with medication management, your psychiatrist can help you tailor your plan to your current needs and help you stay informed about what your options are for continuing care.

For example, people starting new medications can often begin by feeling extremely satisfied with their results. But as time goes on, they might begin to experience unwanted side effects of the medication and want to try a new option.

Medication management builds in the time for these conversations and is adaptable to your current experience and circumstances.

Other people may only need the help of a psychiatrist for shorter periods. In the case of anxiety disorders, for instance, it’s common for a psychiatrist to prescribe certain medications for a period of one to three months, and then check in with their clients to see how they are feeling.

This is particularly true when medication management is just one part of a comprehensive treatment plan. When medication management is paired with individual therapy, ketamine-assisted healing, or deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, the client can often learn new coping skills or behaviors that vastly reduce the severity and frequency of mental health symptoms.

The medication itself becomes a stepping stool to holistic mental health, instead of the solution to mental health problems on their own. Medication management is designed to flex and adapt to the changing needs of clients and provide space for people to try new approaches and techniques to conquer their mental health challenges.

7. Taking the Confusion Out of Psychiatry

The science of psychiatry and pharmacology is complex and often hard to understand. Treating mental health disorders with medications isn’t always as simple as “X” disorder getting prescribed “Y” medication. Countless variables need to be taken into account to make sure that treatment is safe, effective, and sustainable.

Part of the process of medication management is taking the confusion out of this process and helping you to understand your options, your medication, and your treatment plan. Patients often have dozens of questions about treatment, and new questions can arrive even months after starting your new regimen.

Some common questions asked of our psychiatrists include:

  • What are the side effects of this medication?
  • Can I take these medications if I’m doing another treatment?
  • Can I take this medication if I’m trying to get pregnant?
  • Is this medication addictive?
  • Is it okay to stop taking this medication suddenly?
  • How long will it take for the medication to work?
  • Are there any risks of the medication I should know about?

Your psychiatrist in medication management can answer any of your questions at any point in the process.

Compared to the more common way of getting prescribed medications — meeting with your primary care physician or opting for just a single session with a psychiatrist — medication management provides the time and flexibility to help you understand your treatment plan and how it’s working for you.

Is Medication Management Right for You?

Medication management can play a pivotal role in a comprehensive treatment plan. It can be used as a solitary treatment option or in conjunction with other treatments, such as:

Research has shown that for most mental health challenges, combining medication management with other treatment options provides the greatest likelihood of success. While either treatment alone is effective, combined treatment helped more people and reduced symptoms to a much greater degree.

If you’re struggling with a mental health challenge that’s beginning to interfere with your day-to-day life, starting medication management may be the right choice. Countless scientific investigations have proven the effectiveness of medication management for many mental health conditions and can lead to total remission of symptoms in some cases.

Start Treatment at Plus by APN

Plus by APN combines the best in traditional and innovative treatment options to provide our clients with every option available to overcome mental health disorders. To get started, fill out our confidential contact form or contact our team by phone at 424.644.6486.