Mental Health Medications (Psychotropic Medication)

Looking for a referral to, or more information about, mental health or substance use treatment services? The American Board of Preventive Medicine provides this service to locate physicians who are certified as specialists in Addiction Medicine

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
"SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information."
SAMHSA's website also offers a free, confidential Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

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1. Mental Health Medications: Antidepressants

"Antidepressants are medications commonly used to treat depression. Antidepressants are also used for other health conditions, such as anxiety, pain and insomnia. Although antidepressants are not FDA-approved specifically to treat ADHD, antidepressants are sometimes used to treat ADHD in adults.

"The most popular types of antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples of SSRIs include:

"Fluoxetine
"Citalopram
"Sertraline
"Paroxetine
"Escitalopram
"Other types of antidepressants are serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are similar to SSRIs and include venlafaxine and duloxetine.

"Another antidepressant that is commonly used is bupropion. Bupropion is a third type of antidepressant which works differently than either SSRIs or SNRIs. Bupropion is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder and to help people stop smoking.

"SSRIs, SNRIs, and bupropion are popular because they do not cause as many side effects as older classes of antidepressants, and seem to help a broader group of depressive and anxiety disorders. Older antidepressant medications include tricyclics, tetracyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). For some people, tricyclics, tetracyclics, or MAOIs may be the best medications."

National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Information: Mental Health Medications. Last revised October 2016. Last accessed June 15, 2018.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/healt...

2. Antidepressant Side Effects

"The most common side effects listed by the FDA include:

"Nausea and vomiting
"Weight gain
"Diarrhea
"Sleepiness
"Sexual problems

"Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worsening, or worry you(U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2011):

"Thoughts about suicide or dying
"Attempts to commit suicide
"New or worsening depression
"New or worsening anxiety
"Feeling very agitated or restless
"Panic attacks
"Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
"New or worsening irritability
"Acting aggressively, being angry, or violent
"Acting on dangerous impulses
"An extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
"Other unusual changes in behavior or mood

"Combining the newer SSRI or SNRI antidepressants with one of the commonly-used "triptan" medications used to treat migraine headaches could cause a life-threatening illness called "serotonin syndrome." A person with serotonin syndrome may be agitated, have hallucinations (see or hear things that are not real), have a high temperature, or have unusual blood pressure changes. Serotonin syndrome is usually associated with the older antidepressants called MAOIs, but it can happen with the newer antidepressants as well, if they are mixed with the wrong medications. For more information, please see the FDA Medication Guide on Antidepressant Medicines

"Antidepressants may cause other side effects that were not included in this list. To report any serious adverse effects associated with the use of antidepressant medicines, please contact the FDA MedWatch program using the contact information at the bottom of this page. For more information about the risks and side effects for each medication, please see Drugs@FDA."

National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Information: Mental Health Medications. Last revised October 2016. Last accessed June 15, 2018.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/healt...

3. Mental Health Medications: Anti-Anxiety Medications

"Anti-anxiety medications help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry. The most common anti-anxiety medications are called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines can treat generalized anxiety disorder. In the case of panic disorder or social phobia (social anxiety disorder), benzodiazepines are usually second-line treatments, behind SSRIs or other antidepressants.

"Benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders include:
"Clonazepam
"Alprazolam
"Lorazepam

"Short half-life (or short-acting) benzodiazepines (such as Lorazepam) and beta-blockers are used to treat the short-term symptoms of anxiety. Beta-blockers help manage physical symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling, rapid heartbeat, and sweating that people with phobias (an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation, such as public speaking) experience in difficult situations. Taking these medications for a short period of time can help the person keep physical symptoms under control and can be used “as needed” to reduce acute anxiety.

"Buspirone (which is unrelated to the benzodiazepines) is sometimes used for the long-term treatment of chronic anxiety. In contrast to the benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken every day for a few weeks to reach its full effect. It is not useful on an “as-needed” basis."

National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Information: Mental Health Medications. Last revised October 2016. Last accessed June 15, 2018.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/healt...

4. Anti-Anxiety Medication Side Effects

"Like other medications, anti-anxiety medications may cause side effects. Some of these side effects and risks are serious. The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include:
"Nausea
"Blurred vision
"Headache
"Confusion
"Tiredness
"Nightmares

"Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
"Drowsiness
"Dizziness
"Unsteadiness
"Problems with coordination
"Difficulty thinking or remembering
"Increased saliva
"Muscle or joint pain
"Frequent urination
"Blurred vision
"Changes in sex drive or ability (The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc, 2010)

"If you experience any of the symptoms below, call your doctor immediately:
"Rash
"Hives
"Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
"Difficulty breathing or swallowing
"Hoarseness
"Seizures
"Yellowing of the skin or eyes
"Depression
"Difficulty speaking
"Yellowing of the skin or eyes
"Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
"Difficulty breathing

"Common side effects of beta-blockers include:
"Fatigue
"Cold hands
"Dizziness or light-headedness
"Weakness
"Beta-blockers generally are not recommended for people with asthma or diabetes because they may worsen symptoms related to both.

"Possible side effects from buspirone include:
"Dizziness
"Headaches
"Nausea
"Nervousness
"Lightheadedness
"Excitement
"Trouble sleeping

"Anti-anxiety medications may cause other side effects that are not included in the lists above. To report any serious adverse effects associated with the use of these medicines, please contact the FDA MedWatch program using the contact information at the bottom of this page. For more information about the risks and side effects for each medication, please see Drugs@FDA."

National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Information: Mental Health Medications. Last revised October 2016. Last accessed June 15, 2018.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/healt...