As part of the discussion our clinicians will have with patients about treatment options, medication may be recommended. Medications can be extraordinarily helpful, especially when paired with effective psychotherapies, in helping individuals with depression, anxiety, and related disorders. As we have learned more about the brain-mind interface, it has become clear that specific medications can help to balance the brain’s own chemistry and circuits that underlie emotions, thoughts and behavior. Such medications can be a very important and effective therapeutic foundation at times for patients who are suffering substantially.
Any medications our clinicians recommend are based on what the most recent research suggests will be most helpful in their treatment and recovery in addition to considering previous treatments and other medical disorders our patients have encountered. As all medications have potential side-effects, we engage our patients in an active discussion of the benefits versus side effects of their treatment options and encourage the patient to take an active role in deciding which medication makes most sense for him or her. We use validated rating scales to monitor the treatment response whenever possible, in addition to the general feedback from our patients, their significant others and our own and other providers’ impressions. More often than not, our patients comment that the addition of a rating scale is helpful to their treatment as it provides them a more objective sense of their progress.
Effective and responsible use of medications is predicated on there having been a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of the patient, that all medical conditions and existing medications are considered, as well as our patients’ lifestyles, habits, and life situation. Before recommending a prescription, our clinicians address these other areas, and if needed, discuss with patients’ other clinicians and perform further testing to assure there is a complete and accurate understanding of the condition being treated. We encourage our patients to be as open as possible with us, discuss their treatment preferences, provide us with timely feedback about their progress and whenever appropriate, allow family and significant others to provide their impressions to allow for as complete a picture as possible.