While medication can dramatically improve certain conditions, most people have valid concerns that need to be answered before taking them, such as:
"Will I have to take this for life?"
"Can this be addictive?"
"What are the side effects?"
"Does it carry long-term risks?"
"Will it change who I am?"
We share these concerns, and try to select treatments that relieve suffering without unwanted effects.
In some cases, treatments are available which also improve physical health. There are psychiatric medications that can reduce heart disease, relieve chronic pain, and even protect brain cells from damage.
The squiggles and lines above are brain cells. Treatment with a mood stabilizer (Valproic Acid, also called Depakote), has helped the cells to the right to thrive and grow, while lack of treatment (to the left) has caused cells to shrink away. Similar protective effects have also been found for lithium, antidepressants, and other medications.
It is important to consider how a medicine will affect you now as well as down the road. For example, some kinds of depression can get worse if antidepressants are used too long. Whenever possible we recommend treatments that will not just help in the short term but will improve physical and mental health for years to come.
New research is constantly being released about these medications, so keep in mind that the information at right will always be a little out of date.
—Updated 9/12/16 by Chris Aiken, MD
Explore treatment options through our comprehensive reference guide or click on medications below to learn more.
See Benzodiazepines, SSRIs, SNRIs, Remeron above.
Typicals (haldol, haloperidol, thorazine, chlorpromazine, etc)
Stimulants and ADHD Treatments