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Psychopharmacology is the study of the use of medications in treating mental health disorders.

Along with psychotherapy (talk therapy), medicines help reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing. Types of medications prescribed for mental health disorders include one or a combination of the following:

  • Anti-anxiety medicines: the most common, called benzodiazepines, help reduce panic attacks, or extreme worry or fear
  • Antidepressants: certain classes affect different neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine
  • Anti-psychotics: help relieve symptoms of psychosis, or false interpretations of reality, such as hallucinations or delusions
  • Mood stabilizers: even out mood by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain
  • Stimulants: increase energy, attention, and alertness

Because mental illness treatment usually involves medication, the science of psychopharmacology helps us understand how a drug stays in the body, the length of time it impacts you, how it changes depending on a person’s genetic make-up, and how it interacts with other drugs.

Who is a Candidate?

Children, adolescents, adults, and older adults can benefit from medicines designed to reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders. Medicines can help people with:

What to Expect

For the most effective treatment, medication is prescribed along with psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT).

Medicine side effects vary, but the most common include:

  • Changes in weight
  • Digestive issues
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Problems with sexual function
  • Rash
  • Trouble sleeping

It can take time to find the right medication at the right dose for your specific condition. Some conditions, such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, have a higher risk for relapse. This means you may have to try a variety of combination therapies until you and your psychiatrist agree on the best treatment plan.

Why Choose UHealth?

Psychiatrists with extensive neuropsychopharmacology expertise. Our psychiatrists have extensive and continuous training in neuroscience, mental health disorders, and psychopharmacology. You can rest assured your doctor will make the most informed decision to ensure you get the safest, most effective drug therapy for your specific condition.

Active clinical research into psychoactive drugs for mental illness. We have cutting-edge research labs dedicated to studying the safety and effectiveness of medicines for a variety of mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, and schizophrenia. We’re also looking at how age, gender, and co-exiting conditions, such as dementia and HIV/AIDS, may affect medicine therapy for mental illness.

Specialized care for women, kids, older adults, and patients with medical illness. We offer special psychiatry services related to women’s reproductive health, children and adolescents, older adults, and patients with complex medical illness, like cancer. You get expert care from providers who understand the biological effects mental health medicines have in all ages and stages.

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