Understanding medicines prescribed for mental health disorders
Having an adolescent or teen that has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder can be nerve wrecking. Thankfully, there are many different tools that can help your teen lead a healthy lifestyle and learn how to control their disorder. These can include different types of therapies and, in many cases, medication.
However, medication should not be used as the only form of treatment, but it can be extremely helpful for your teen. The world of medication is confusing, so it advisable to do some research on the different options available before seeing your doctor and discussing options with them.
To help you in your endeavor to learn more about the medication that your teen may use, we have compiled a brief list of types of medications used for different disorders, what to keep in mind while using these medications, and their side effects.
Medication for mood disorders
Mood disorders include disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, and substance-induced mood disorder. Medications used for these conditions include:
- Mood stabilizers: These are one of the main medications used to treat different mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers are usually lithium medications including medications known by the names such as lithium, lithobid, and eskalith. When using these medications, the lithium levels in the teen’s blood, thyroid function, and kidney function should be constantly monitored. Side effects of mood stabilizers can include excessive thirst, acne, weight gain, frequent urination, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Antipsychotics: These are used to treat teens with psychosis, bipolar disorder, or other mental health problems. Two generations of antipsychotics have been used till date. The generation of medications used today is known as atypical antipsychotics. Atypical antipsychotics are modern and are used more often as they have fewer side effects. These include risperidone (Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilify). As with most medications, it is important to monitor the side effects that your teen may have when adjusting to any of these medications. Side effects can include dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, and sedation, among others.
- Antidepressants: These include a few different types of medication and, as the name suggests, are used to treat depression. These can also be used to help teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. Antidepressants include specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac and Sarafem), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil). When using antidepressants, it is important to keep an eye on your teen as these medications may sometimes cause an increase in suicidal ideation which can be dangerous. Side effects include nausea, changes in appetite, headaches, insomnia, etc.
Medication for anxiety disorders
- Antianxiety medications: This form of medication is used to combat panic and other anxiety symptoms. These include benzodiazepines and anxiolytics. Benzodiazepines are used for short-term treatment of panic and symptoms of anxiety. These include alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan). These can cause hyperexcitability in young users. Anxiolytics help treat general anxiety symptoms and include medicines like buspirone (Buspar), which often takes several weeks to start work. Side effects can include weight gain, dizziness, and sedation.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These are used mostly for the treatment of resistant anxiety and also treatment resistant depression. These medications include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or selegiline (Emsam patch). These are rarely used on adolescents as they may lead to the development of hypertension. Further, taking these requires the users to follow a strict diet. Side effects can include dizziness, low blood pressure, changes in weight and appetite, etc.
Whenever a mental health therapist recommends a medication as a part of one’s teen’s treatment, it is vital that they discuss it extensively with their doctor. Depending on the teen, some medications may be more effective than others, or may have worse side effects than others.
Once a particular medicine has been started, it is important to stay in close contact with one’s doctor and monitor side effects. In certain cases, a teen may suffer from worse side effects when using a certain medication and might need to be switched to a different one. Letting your doctor know about instances like these can help them provide the teen with an effective medication that ensures comfortable treatment.
Two main things to watch out for in a teen that has begun using a medication for a mental health disorder are addiction and suicidal tendencies. In some cases, the medication may cause the teen to think about suicide and they should immediately be switched to another medicine or monitored closely to see if the thoughts worsen or improve.
Treatment for mental health disorders
Mental health disorders can be overwhelming and seeking treatment for them from a certified mental health rehab at the earliest is the best way to deal with them. If you know a teen displaying symptoms of mental health problems, get in touch with Adeona Healthcare, the leading teen mental health treatment center for adolescents aged between 12 and 17. We excel in providing long-lasting mental health treatment for teens.
Call our 24/7 mental health helpline (888)-997-3966 to know more about our research-backed mental health treatment programs. You can also chat online to our representative to understand why mental health treatment at Adeona Healthcare may the best shot at recovery for your teen.