Psychiatric Medication Management

medication management with a doctor

What is Psychiatric Medication Management?

Psychiatric medication management, also known simply as medication management, is a strategy treatment providers use to help patients manage their medications. It is the process of prescribing, monitoring, and adjusting medications to treat mental health conditions effectively.

Medication management is a crucial aspect of psychiatric treatment, often provided by psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or other mental health professionals with prescribing privileges.

The goal of psychiatric medication management is to optimize a patient’s medication regimen to alleviate symptoms, improve overall well-being, and minimize side effects. It requires close communication between the patient and their healthcare provider to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Why is Medication Management Needed?

Medications are often used to treat mental health conditions and substance use disorders. When patients are using multiple varieties of pills, there needs to be a system that maintains and updates a complete and accurate list of all the products being used.

On any given day, one must encounter many different obstacles with school, work, family, friends, and other responsibilities that may interfere with their ability to adhere to their medication schedule. Especially if a person is taking new medications, having to keep track of what medication to take and at what time can be incredibly taxing. Additionally, it is possible to underdose and overdose, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right dose at the right time.

With close psychiatric medication management, our doctors and nurses make sure clients take their prescriptions as directed.

Professional medication management is not only for the patient but also for the benefit of caregivers and medical professionals. These individuals need to be able to identify how and when their patients are taking medication. Knowing this information could help them to identify problematic behaviors of their patients that may lead to undesirable drug events like an overdose, underdose, and missing medication.

The most apparent benefit of psychiatric medication management is that it ensures patient safety. About 4.5 million visits to the office and emergency rooms are made via ambulance every year due to negative drug events that result from poor medication management. Maintaining a medication list will help to account for any safety issues that occur with mixing treatments and reduce the chance of prescribing errors. It will also ensure that patients who are not taking their medication, which could potentially endanger their lives, are staying on a fixed schedule every day.

The Medication Management Process

Our psychiatric medication management services have the safety and well-being of clients in mind.

Upon admission, patients are asked to provide a complete inventory of all their medications during the medication management process. This includes both over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as injections, ointments, drops, and inhalers, as well as any non-oral treatments. A healthcare provider or medical staff will then create a comprehensive list and develop a timetable specifying when each treatment should be administered.

After admission, clients undergo a comprehensive assessment that includes a thorough evaluation of symptoms, medical history, family history, and any previous medication trials. The healthcare provider may also consider the patient’s lifestyle, preferences, and treatment goals in order to devise an individualized treatment plan.

Based on the assessment, the healthcare provider selects an appropriate medication or combination of medications to target the specific mental health disorder. They consider factors like the type and severity of symptoms, potential side effects, and drug interactions.

Then, regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the patient’s progress and assess the medication’s effectiveness. During these appointments, the healthcare provider may ask about changes in symptoms, side effects, and any other concerns the patient may have.

While at the inpatient level of care, clients receive all of their medications directly from a healthcare professional to promote adherence and discourage misuse. Medication management is combined with psychotherapy or counseling to address the psychological and emotional aspects of the mental health condition. Therapy can complement medication treatment and provide valuable coping strategies that support long-term recovery.

How to Maintain a Regimen for Multiple Medications

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, many people are confused when it comes to having to organize all of their different medications. The fact that sometimes medication lists are too complicated to be understood by the average civilian and the drug instructions are also incredibly vague does not facilitate the process. While medical professionals should supervise medication management, there are things you as a patient can do to prevent errors in your prescriptions and to make the process both simpler and safer:

  • Schedule a medication review with your pharmacist to ask about any unnecessary medications on the list that you can get rid of or have to change due to their negative reactions to other substances. Healthcare workers are always supposed to have updated information to advise you about any alterations to drug products.
  • Clear up any confusion regarding dosage. “With food” and “on an empty stomach” can have several different meanings. Does ‘take with food’ imply a heavy meal or light snack? Does an empty stomach mean one hour after eating or after an extended fasting period? What is the difference between taking a tablet twice a day and every 12 hours? These may seem like trivial questions, but as it relates to health, there is no harm in asking.
  • Use technology to make your regimen more organized. There are applications specifically designed to help track all of your current and old medications, so you never forget which medication to take and when. Many of them also allow for the addition of doctor’s notes.
  • Make the process easier on yourself. Why take one medication three times a day when you could opt for a similar one that only requires a single daily dosage? Ask your doctor about any replacements that could make your treatment more manageable.

Medication Management Works Well for Those with a Dual-Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual experiences both a substance use disorder, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol, and a concurrent mental health disorder. Frequently, addiction can precipitate mental health issues by altering brain chemistry, or conversely, mental illness can lead to addiction as individuals attempt to self-medicate instead of seeking proper treatment.

Many individuals with co-occurring disorders turn to substance abuse as a means of fitting in and appearing as “functioning” members of society. It might begin with a single drink to ease social anxiety, evolving into alcohol addiction, or experimenting with marijuana to escape traumatic memories. While these actions may offer temporary relief, they are not effective long-term solutions and often result in a damaging cycle of abuse that poses risks to both the affected individual and those around them.

Co-occurring disorders are prevalent in the United States. In 2018, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that nearly 9.2 million adults experienced both mental illness and substance use disorder.

Regrettably, only 34.5% sought mental health treatment, and merely 3.9% sought rehabilitation for their addiction. Alarmingly, just 9.1% addressed both conditions simultaneously.

While these statistics are concerning, it is crucial to recognize that separate treatments exist for mental health disorders and addiction, as well as effective approaches for addressing both simultaneously. If you have a co-occurring disorder that requires multiple medications or concerns about how your medications might affect your recovery, exploring medication management therapy could be a beneficial option.

Find Help Today

Taking the first step is difficult, but at 1st Step, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Please contact our team by call or text at (855) 425-4846 to discuss our range of mental health and addiction treatment programs.

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