Many people will use medication alongside another treatment, such as a psychological therapy, to manage the symptoms they are experiencing. Medication can be prescribed by a Psychiatrist or in liaison with your local GP. Psychiatric medication is any form of drug used in the treatment or management of a mental health problem.

Psychiatric medications work to reduce the symptoms of the mental health problem or to help you cope, they usually can’t provide a cure. The use of medications will depend on the particular diagnosis, the issues that you are experiencing and how severe the impact of these symptoms is on your day to day life.

There are a number of different types of medication

What are antidepressants used for:

  • depression
  • some forms of anxiety
  • some types of eating problem

Examples of antidepressants:

  • Citalopram (Cipramil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Lustral)
  • Paroxetine (Seroxat)
  • Amitriptyline (Triptafen)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Doxepin (Sinepin)
  • Venlafaxine
  • Mirtazapine

What are anti-anxiety medications used for:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder

Examples of anti-anxiety medication:

  • diazepam
  • lorazepam
  • temazepam
  • beta-blockers e.g. propanolol

What are anti-psychotic medications used for:

  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Hypomania/mania
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Severe anxiety

Examples of anti-psychotics:

  • Clozapine
  • Olanzapine
  • Risperidone
  • Quetiapine
  • Amisulpride

What are mood stabilising medications used for:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Hypomania/mania
  • Recurrent severe depression

Examples of mood stabilisers:

  • Lithium
  • Carbamazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Valproate
  • Asenapine

Other medications can be used to treat problems associated with common mental health problems, such as insomnia.

Before taking medication

It is important that you feel fully informed before agreeing to take any prescription medication. You should ensure that you understand why you have been prescribed this medication, what it is, whether there are alternatives available, what the positives and negatives of taking the medication are, any possible side effects, how you should take the medication & how you can stop taking the medication in a safe manner.

Your Psychiatrist or GP will ask a number of questions about your medical history to ensure that they are prescribing the most appropriate form of medication for you. Medications affect different people in different ways. If you find that the particular form of medication is not working for you, you should seek further professional advice. You do not have to take medication that you are offered, you can choose an alternative treatment plan.

Stopping your medication

If you decide that you would like to stop taking the medication, it is important that you discuss this with the prescribing professional first. It is possible with these types of medications to experience withdrawal effects, so you will usually be advised to slowly reduce the dosage in a controlled manner rather that suddenly stopping.