The word ‘psychiatric’ can often be misinterpreted or evoke feelings of fear in those who don’t understand fully what it means, and the same can be said of ‘psychiatric medication management’. However, if you’ve been recommended for a psychiatric assessment by your doctor or therapist, understanding what that means, how a psychiatric practitioner can help you, and what psychiatric medication is, should minimize your fears and concerns.
If you have a mental health concern, a psychiatric assessment could help get you on the road to recovery, and here’s how:
Our mental health needs are just as important as our physical health needs:
Since our mental and physical health are closely linked, it makes sense that we should get both checked by professionals, as and when a problem arises. Stress and trauma can leave us feeling anxious, angry or depressed, and when these feelings go unchecked or untreated, they can lead to the manifestation of major psychological and physical illnesses or behaviors.
We know the importance of getting our physical health checked by primary care providers, but often let our mental health go unchecked. This could be due to feelings of denial, shame or embarrassment, which sadly, prohibits us from seeking the help that we need to feel better.
What happens during a psychiatric assessment?
An initial check-up will be performed by the psychiatric practitioner, in much the same way as a physical assessment would be carried out. It includes an overview of your symptoms, and a review of whether medication would be advisable to help treat your mental health issue. Rather than a physical examination, a psychiatric assessment involves a lot of talking, which in itself, may be therapeutic.
What happens after the assessment?
Your psychiatric assessor will diagnose you and recommend a treatment plan that may or may not include medication. They will discuss the plan with you in detail, along with information about the actions, uses and side effects of medication, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask as many questions as you want.
If you agree to try the medication and whatever else the treatment plan involves, then the practitioner will prescribe the medication for a trial period to enable both parties to assess and evaluate its effectiveness. This is where the term ‘medication management’ comes into play.
The medication will be reviewed based upon its effectiveness in helping to meet the goals that you and your assessor have agreed upon, and keep in mind that medications can vary in effectiveness from person to person, so what might work for you, may not work so well for someone else with the same mental health concerns.
In many cases, other forms of treatment are recommended that can work in conjunction with your medication plan, such as counseling, life management skills and behavioral therapies. Your assessor will carefully monitor your progress and you’ll meet regularly to discuss how everything is going and what might need to be changed in relation to your treatment plan.
Medication is not always prescribed for patients with mental health concerns, and the benefits and side effects are weighed up carefully to minimize the risks. At every stage of your psychiatric journey, your needs will be thoroughly assessed, and medications can be altered or stopped, as and when necessary. Whatever your psychiatric needs, help is out there, and the sooner you seek it, the sooner you’ll begin to feel more in control of your life.