Johannesburg Psychiatrist

Psychiatry and Medication

Will my psychiatrist prescribe medication?

Many, but not all, illnesses that affect the mind have been shown to be linked to changes in the chemicals in the brain. Examples of these chemical include serotonin, dopamine, noradrenalin, GABA and glutamate. Sometimes other illnesses can also cause symptoms of mental illness. Examples of other illnesses that can cause symptoms of mental illness include thyroid problems, infections and epilepsy to name just a few.

When you go to the psychiatrist they will initially spend some time with you to diagnose your illness. They may also ask for some tests to exclude other medical conditions.

Not all mental illness requires medication. Some mental illnesses respond better to therapy while other mental illnesses may become more severe if left untreated and need medication. The severity of your symptoms also needs to be taken into account. Your psychiatrist will discuss your diagnosis with you. From there they will discuss whether they feel medication is needed and what treatment options are available. They will discuss the risks and benefits of medication and any alternate treatments that may be available to be used instead or in conjunction with medication depending on your diagnosis.

It is important to take medication as prescribed as taking medication incorrectly can increase side effects or lead to the medication no longer working. It is important to discuss your medication and symptoms with your psychiatrist who will help you make decisions regarding medication. Although the medication is not addictive, stopping the medication suddenly does not give your brain time to adapt to the changes in chemical levels in the brain and can put you at risk of symptoms of mental illness returning. Some illnesses require a shorter course of medication while other illnesses may be chronic and it is important to discuss this with your psychiatrist.