When people are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, having an integrated approach to treatment gives them the best shot at long-term recovery. When we think of mental health treatment, therapy and counseling immediately come to mind. Another important part of mental health treatment is the use of medications. Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) has become an important and highly effective cornerstone in the treatment of mental illness.
In this article, we will discuss mental health medication and its role in the recovery process. We will also discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of mental health medication in the overall treatment picture. If you are in the Atlanta area and need evidence-based mental health treatment, call the Berman Center toll-free today. Our outpatient mental health and addiction treatment programs use an integrated and individualized approach to help you and your loved ones break free from mental illness and help you realize lifelong peace and happiness.
Call us today and write a new and exciting chapter in your life.
Understanding Mental Health Medication Programs
So what are mental health medication programs?
Also known as medication-assisted therapy programs (MAT), these programs combine the use of FDA-approved medications with other approaches such as behavioral health counseling and other programs. In many ways, medication-based therapy programs are part of an integrated and holistic approach to mental health treatment. Medications are believed to help clients address the chemical imbalances in their brains that lead to mental illness. Once these are addressed, treatment staff utilize other programs and services.
The ultimate purpose of mental health medication programs is to provide a “helping hand” to people needing help managing the symptoms associated with their mental illness. The use of medications in mental health treatment can also help clients stay in treatment and complete their program. MAT programs not only are beneficial for those struggling with mental health disorders; they also help clients who are addicted to substances.
What Types of Medications Are Used in Mental Health Treatment?
To treat various mental illnesses, treatment professionals must utilize different categories of medications. The following are the most common classes of medications used in mental health treatment programs:
Antidepressants are used to treat depression, and they are also helpful in treating anxiety, pain, and insomnia. These medications increase neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline, which help improve mood and emotion. Common antidepressants used in treatment include Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac.
The second category of medications used in MAT programs are anti-anxiety medications. These medications increase the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which brings a strong sense of calm. Examples of these medications include Ativan, Valium, and Xanax.
Antipsychotic medications are used to treat people suffering from psychosis and other mental illnesses that distort perception and reality. These medications are often combined with others to help people suffering from dementia and delirium. These medications help block dopamine receptors in the brain, which reduces the overload of messages that often occur with psychotic episodes. Examples of antipsychotic drugs include Risperdal, Clozaril, and Abilify.
Mood stabilizers help clients control and even out wide mood swings associated with bipolar as well as depression. These medications also help prevent manic and depressive episodes. Lithium is the most commonly known mood stabilizer. Other examples of mood stabilizers include Carbamazepine and Lamotrigine.
What Are the Drawbacks of Mental Health Medication Programs?
There is no doubt that medications play a vital role in mental health treatment programs. When used in conjunction with counseling, therapy, and other programs, mental health medication programs are effective. However, medications are not miracle cures, and some drawbacks must be noted. First, medications may not work for everyone. Similarly, it may take a trial-and-error period to find a medication that will work for a client.
Another drawback to medications is it takes considerable time for any medication to truly work. In general, it may take a few weeks for medications to work in the way the treatment staff intends for them to work. In that time, staff may have to modify dosages or even cease administering these medications and try another drug. It is also important to note that many medications used in mental health treatment programs have a high addiction potential. Because of this, they must be carefully prescribed, administered, and closely monitored by experienced staff members.
Improve Mental Well-Being With Help From The Berman Center
Mental illness has a devastating impact on those who suffer from it and their families, friends, and the community at large. If you are dealing with some form of mental illness, finding evidence-based treatment and expert support will give you the tools to unlock lasting recovery. The Berman Center is one of Georgia’s premier outpatient mental health and drug addiction treatment facilities. We utilize an integrated approach to treatment that addresses you as a whole. No matter the severity of your condition, our dedicated staff work with you in designing an individualized program that will help you succeed in beating mental illness for good.
Call The Berman Center today and get on the road to recovery.