Medications can play an important role in treating mental disorders and conditions. They are usually most effective when they are part of an overall treatment program (psychotherapy, rehabilitation, etc.). There are several different types of medication, all that have their own benefits and risks. Some types include:
Antidepressants - drugs used to alleviate symptoms of depressive disorders
Stimulants - drugs that raise levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body.
Antipsychotics - drugs used to treat psychotic disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder)
Mood stabilizers - drugs that can be used to treat mood problems that come with episodes of mania or depression
It is important to speak with a medical professional when looking to get medication. Make sure you tell your doctor about any medication/supplements you are currently taking. Never take another person’s medication, and make sure you understand how to take your medicine before you start using it.
While the team here at MannMukti wants to spread awareness regarding mental health issues and treatments, we want everyone to understand there can be serious repercussions associated with attempting to self-medicate or self-prescribe. The following information should only be seen as brief summaries and insights into the types of medication.
Do not make any medical decision regarding medication based on what you read here. You must speak with a medical professional before taking any sort of medication - consult our resources to find other mental health organizations as well as providers. There is nothing to be ashamed of regarding asking about mental health medication. Your health is worth it! You are worth it!
Like with other treatments, it is important to understand that being prescribed medication is nothing to be ashamed of. Between 2005 and 2008, antidepressant medications were the third most commonly taken medication in the United States. Today, one in ten Americans age 12 and older take antidepressants.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants include medications like Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro and Paxil. Additionally, anxiety disorders affect 18 percent of the American population and are the most common mental illness in the country. Examples of anti-anxiety medications include beta-blockers and Buspar.
The CDC-run surveys show that about 11% of children in the US (4-17 years old) have ADHD. Stimulants are often prescribed to treat ADHD. Commonly prescribed stimulant medications include Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
Stimulants are quite often prescribed alongside psychotherapy, and can mitigate symptoms of ADHD and other disorders. Prescription stimulants are often abused, and this can be extremely, extremely dangerous. Stimulants work by slowly increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. Increasing these levels too quickly greatly increases the risk of addiction, and can lead to extreme side effects, such as malnutrition, paranoia, and strokes. Be sure to consult a medical professional, and to carefully abide by the prescribed amounts.
Antipsychotics can be divided into two main types: “typical”, and “atypical”. These terms refer to first-generation (typical) and second-generation (atypical) drugs. Typical drugs were developed in the 1950s, and atypical in the 1990s. Atypical drugs introduced the use of clozapine, which lowered the risk of extrapiramidal symptoms (tremors, anxiety, etc.) Examples of atypical drugs include Abilify, Clozaril, and Geodon.
Typical drugs now tend to be prescribed when atypical drugs wouldn’t be as effective. Examples of typical drugs include Haldol, Loxitane, and Moban.
Mood stabilizers are drugs that treat and prevent highs (manic or hypomanic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes). Medicines aren’t actually classified as mood stabilizers. It’s more of an informal term that refers to a medicine with antidepressant properties that does not cause worsening of mood states over time. Examples of mood stabilizers include Lithobid, Depakene, and Depakote.
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