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erika dalton

By NABH Staff

Medically Reviewed by Erika Dalton, LMSW

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

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Mental health disorders cannot be treated by treating the symptoms alone. We use holistic and evidence-based methods to treat the entire individual.

Are you considering taking medication for mental illness but feel overwhelmed by all the choices? Finding the right prescription drugs can offer tremendous benefits when it comes to easing a person’s symptoms and helping them feel better. North Atlanta Behavioral Health employs a staff of mental health clinicians who understand all the options available and can match people with the medications that can work the best for them. We break down all your choices and what to expect from them.

About Medication for Mental Health

When someone has a mental health disorder, therapy alone may not give them all the results they need. Medications for mental illness offer people a chance to minimize or eliminate many of the symptoms of poor mental health. Some only need to be taken short-term, while others prove more effective when taken long-term. It can take a trial-and-error period to find the right medication, and the dosage levels may change over time. Overall, the right prescription medication can make a real difference in helping people feel calmer, more positive, and better able to live up to their potential.

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Who Can Prescribe Medications for Mental Health?

Medications for mental illness can be prescribed by a few different providers. This includes physicians and psychiatrists, who are both licensed medical doctors. Prescriptions can also be obtained from a physician’s assistant and a psychiatric nurse practitioner. The prescriber should have an understanding of the person’s medical and psychiatric history and know their exact diagnosis. Usage of the medications should be monitored and any necessary changes can be made.

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Most Common Medications for Mental Illness

A report showed that in 2020, 20.3% of adults participated in mental health treatment in the previous 12 months. This includes 16.5% who also took prescription medications for mental health disorders. Both of these numbers showed an increase over the previous year. The most commonly prescribed mental health medications include: 

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Trazodone
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta)
  • SertralineBuproprion (Wellbutrin)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)

Antidepressants

This type of medication helps treat the symptoms of several types of depression. The two most common types are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). They can also be used to treat anxiety and eating disorders.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

These drugs help treat different types of anxiety disorders by minimizing or eliminating symptoms of anxiety. The most common type people take are benzodiazepines. 

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics are used to help treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses that cause psychosis. While these illnesses are not curable, this type of drug helps ease the symptoms. First-generation antipsychotics are usually used to treat psychosis, while second-generation ones are used to help people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more.

Mood Stabilizers

This type of medication helps people who have difficulty controlling their moods. They are often used to treat bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and depression. They work by balancing out the high and low moods people experience and increasing a more normal pattern in the brain.

Pros and Cons of Psychiatric Medications

When it comes to medication for mental illness, people find both pros and cons to them. An initial discussion with the person prescribing them can help establish an understanding of the pros and cons of each medication.

Pros include:

  • Minimizing or stopping certain symptoms of a mental health disorder
  • Improving a person’s ability to do well at work or in school
  • Establishing an improved ability to have healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Increasing a person’s cognitive skills so that they think more clearly and make better choices
  • Helping people feel calmer and better able to participate in therapy sessions

The cons of medications include: 

  • Sometimes a person has to try more than one drug to find the right one for their needs
  • Possible side effects can happen with a new medication. Most are temporary but some can be long-term
  • Most medications take at least a week before a person feels a real difference. Some take several weeks before the full effects take hold.

Efficacy of Meds

Mental health medications help millions of people and can help them feel more capable of participating in their ongoing therapy. Medications for mental illness often take time to become effective. This makes it imperative that a person who begins a drug gives it time to take effect. Things that influence how well a medication works include if the person takes the drug as prescribed regularly. A lot of anti-anxiety and anti-depressants take a week or longer to start becoming effective and can take a few weeks before the full effect is achieved.

How Will These Medications Make Me Feel?

Because of how many types of medications for mental illness are available, there isn’t a simple answer for how they make people feel. The goal is to help relieve or eliminate symptoms of the mental health disorder the person has. For example, someone with an anxiety disorder will feel less anxiety and more at peace. Someone who has less anxiety, depression, or other symptoms of mood or thought disorders will often improve in other areas. They might begin to enjoy regular sleep, a healthy appetite, and improved cognitive abilities. The person may also have more success interacting with those around them. 

Begin Treatment For Mental Illness at North Atlanta Behavioral Health

Are you in need of specialized care to help improve your mental health but don’t know where to turn to get the best results? North Atlanta Behavioral Health created a highly effective mental health program that treats each person as an individual and designs a treatment plan just for them. Our staff of experienced therapists work hard to help each person meet their potential and begin to live a fuller life. We also provide options for medication for mental illness and monitor each person for how they respond to them.

Contact us to find out more information about how our program works for you. Our admissions staff can answer your questions and provide a free insurance verification.

Treatment Philosophy

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is dedicated to the health and happiness of our clients. We offer personalized treatment plans that put each individual's needs first. 

Meet Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team wants nothing more than for our clients to achieve a lifetime of recovery and sobriety. Let us help you get the most out of treatment.