Find answers to commonly asked questions about taking psychiatric medications.
Where can I find reliable patient education materials and other information about my psychiatric medications?
- Food & Drug Administration
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Alliance for Mental Illness
Who Can Prescribe Psychiatric Medications?
- Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the assessment and treatment of mental health concerns.
- Advance Practice Registered Nurses: Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training in the assessment and treatment of medical and/or mental health concerns.
- General Practitioners: General Practitioners (e.g., Primary Care Providers) are medically trained professionals who are able to prescribe any form of medication (including psychiatric medication) but do not specialize in mental health treatment. For many psychiatric conditions, you may be comfortably treated for a general mental health concern without needing to see a more specialized mental health treatment provider.
What Other Treatments Are Available for Mental Health Conditions Other Than Psychiatric Medications?
Counseling is often an excellent first line treatment for of the many mental health concern that students encounter. Depending upon the specific mental health concern and your individual circumstances, counseling can be just as effective as medications. In fact, in some cases, counseling alone can be more effective that medication.
Click here to visit the CMHS clinical services page to learn more about the variety of mental health services offered other than medications alone.
Whenever medications are medically necessary, however, an integrated approach that combines the use of psychotherapy and medication is most effective.
If I Am Prescribed Psychiatric Medications, How Long Can I Expect to Take Them?
The duration of psychiatric medication depends on many factors, which include your diagnosis, the severity of your symptoms, a family history of mental health concerns, and whether or not your treatment plan includes other services like counseling. For some mental health concerns such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, practicing good mental health management skills and taking medication is almost always a lifelong part of a comprehensive treatment plan. For most other mental health concerns, treatment with medication will require a commitment of just less than one year.
Is it OK to Try One of My Friend’s Medications to See if They Work for Me Before I Commit to Taking a Medicine Myself?
NO! It is extremely dangerous to take another person’s medications or to share your medications with another person. Obtaining, or attempting to obtain, or using medications in a fraudulent manner is not only dangerous, but is against the law.
Click here for more information about safety, drugs, and your legal rights and responsibilities regarding prescription medications in the State of Connecticut.