Medication

Meds are psychiatric (mental-health) medications prescribed by a psychiatrist or GP which are aimed at helping you deal with mental health difficulties. There are different types, and they often take a while to kick in. Most have side-effects but the person prescribing them is a good source of info about them and what they do.

This could be for you if you're:

  • Taking, or thinking of taking, mental health medication
  • Curious about medication
  • Taking prescription drugs for mental health
  • Getting counselling
packet of pills

What is medication?

If you go to a doctor or other health worker with stuff like depression, anxiety, bipolar or other mental health problems, they might prescribe medication for you. You'll want good info on medication so you can decide what you do and don't want to take. A lot of people find that the medication that does work for them is really useful.

Have a chat

Talk to someone you trust about your decision and experiences, and ask what they think you should do. Also talk to someone like a doctor or psychiatrist who knows how the medications work what they're meant to do. Psychologists and counsellors can probably answer some of your questions too, but they can't prescribe medication.

If you're interested in finding out what treatments have helped other young people with mental health difficulties, you may want to check out WhatWorks4U.org where others share their treatment experiences.

What does medication do?

It sometimes takes a couple of weeks for some medications to kick in properly, so you've got to give it a bit of time to work. Your body can get a bit ill sometimes while it adjusts, but this normally settles down.

You should talk to your doctor or psychiatrist before you stop taking medication, even if you feel like it's not working

Medication will change your brain chemistry, but won't solve your problems. If there are things bothering you that you need help tackling, it's best to see a counsellor or psychologist as well. Otherwise you're only doing half of what you need to get better.

Side effects

Most medication has side effects. It can be stuff like changing your energy levels and appetite or giving you a dry mouth. Talk with the doctor or psychiatrist who's prescribing them about what they are and what they do. Tell them what's going on, and if something's getting too much, let them know. They might have something else they can give you that won't be so bad in terms of side effects.

It's dangerous to mix medication with drugs, other medication, or alcohol. Tell your doctor what else you take (if anything) so they've got the info they need to treat you.

What can I do now?

  • Don’t stop taking medications unless you’ve checked with your doctor.
  • If you are experiencing negative side effects, visit your prescribing doctor.
  • Make sure you take a history of your medication with you to all medical appointments.
Last reviewed: 12 August, 2015
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