Psychopharmacology is the use of medicine to treat psychiatric disorders. Most medications are administered orally on a daily basis. Our doctors are experts in how to best use medication and have taught many others doctors in this area; we literally “wrote the book”. If needed, we use genetic testing to understand why one medication might be better tolerated or more effective for you, but this is not always necessary.
Why go to Brain Health for your medications?
Psychopharmacology requires both art and skill in order to establishing proper diagnoses, identifying which part of the problem might be best treated with medication, ruling out non-psychiatric causes, noting the presence of other medical problems that will influence medication, and evaluating other treatments that might cause drug-drug interactions. We are experts in these areas. Not only are we up to date with the latest treatments, we also know when and how to use the older treatments. We even know when not to use medication at all – sometimes therapy or holistic approaches are better options and we help sort out those options with you.
What to expect when you come in for a medication evaluation.
You will be greeted by someone on our team, offered coffee, tea, soda or water and a comfortable chair and given a clip board with new patient forms. First appointments usually last an hour. Please bring notes and/or medication bottles for other treatments you have had in the past and are taking now. We will talk about what is bothering you first. An accurate idea of the problem always comes before the solution. If needed, we will order laboratory, genetic, or brain imaging studies, but this is typically not necessary. Once we know the problem, or diagnosis, we will ask you questions to understand the best medication for you. Your doctor will talk with you about short term side effects and any longer-term risks as well as what types of benefit to expect. If medication is not the best choice for you, your doctor will explain why and suggest other options.
How long will I have to take medication?
For people who have only had symptoms for a short period of time and have never been treated, expect to be on medication for 6 – 12 months. The exact amount of time will depend on your diagnosis, severity of illness, family history and how well you do on treatment. Our goal is to safely stop medication and leave you back to your old self. For people who have had several episodes of depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder, longer-term treatment will be discussed with the goal of keeping you well in the future.
We meet with you most frequently at the start of treatment. This can be once a week or once a month, depending on what you need. Once you are well, we are available to you if you need us, but appointments can be less frequent, often every several months. Medication follow-up appointments are usually 25 minutes.