Living with side effects of psych meds - graphic of scale and pills
Mental Illness Treatment

Living with Psych Med Side Effects

For anyone need to take medications for a chronic condition like mental illness, dealing with side effects may end up being part of the reality of taking meds. The pros should always be outweighing the cons, but the right balance can be hard to find. No side effects is possible All medications have potential side… Continue reading Living with Psych Med Side Effects

Understanding mental health credentials
Mental Illness Treatment

Understanding Mental Health Provider Credentials

Sadly, there are plenty of incompetent mental health professionals and other helpers out there. A degree, a professional designation, and other mental health credentials are indicators of a certain level of knowledge and skill, but that doesn't stop someone from having a bad attitude, having their head too far up their ass to do anything… Continue reading Understanding Mental Health Provider Credentials

Mental Illness Treatment

The Problem with Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment

Mental illness is fairly unique in that laws allow for treatment to be imposed involuntarily. I'm not against involuntary psychiatric treatment entirely, and it can play an important role, but there are some things that can and should be done better. When involuntary treatment is necessary Working as a nurse in community mental health, there… Continue reading The Problem with Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment

Naltrexone: what it's approved for and what it has some evidence of benefit for
Mental Illness Treatment

Naltrexone – An Opioid Blocker That Gets Around

Naltrexone (brand names include Vivitrol and ReVia) blocks opioid receptors just like Narcan (naloxone), which is used to treat opioid overdoses.  Both drugs prevent any opioids in the vicinity From being able to latch onto opioid receptors and do their opioid thing.  While Narcan and fast- and short-acting, naloxone works more slowly and is longer-acting. … Continue reading Naltrexone – An Opioid Blocker That Gets Around

blister packed pink and white pills
Mental Illness Treatment

My Version of Being Pro-Medication

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm pretty pro-medication when it comes to mental illness.  I thought it would be worthwhile, though, to give a little bit more nuanced perspective. My take on meds comes from my professional training as a pharmacist and then nurse, years of experience, and many hours of continuing education.  I've seen… Continue reading My Version of Being Pro-Medication

Mental illness and medication use in pregnancy - graphic of pregnant woman and health icons
Mental Illness Treatment

Mental Illness and Medication Use in Pregnancy

The world likes to get judgy when it comes to medications, particularly those that are viewed as addictive or otherwise "bad" in some way.  The judginess grows exponentially when it comes to medication use in pregnancy. Obviously, it's a problem if a medication has a negative effect on a developing fetus.  However, in the real… Continue reading Mental Illness and Medication Use in Pregnancy

Antidepressants and suicide risk: the FDA black box warning and other factors to consider
Mental Illness Treatment

Antidepressants and Suicide Risk

Do antidepressants increase the risk of suicide?  There are certainly people out there who are very vocal in insisting that they do.  However, as is so often the case, the loudmouths don't tend to be especially well informed. The FDA black box warning Since 2004, the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required a… Continue reading Antidepressants and Suicide Risk

Do we know how psych meds work? - cartoon of a neural synapse
Mental Illness Treatment

Do We Know How Psych Meds Work?

Sometimes you'll hear people argue that doctors don't know how psych meds work, and therefore they shouldn't be used.  However, there's a lack of clarity to these statements that, at least in my opinion, casts psychotropic meds in an unfair light. What is the mechanism of action? If we're going to about how medications work,… Continue reading Do We Know How Psych Meds Work?

pills being poured into a glass bowl
Mental Illness Treatment

Do You Tend to Blame Your Mental Illness or Your Psych Meds?

Why?  Whatever the issue might be, and whatever might be happening to us, we always want to know why. (Note: you can read a bit more about that in my post on attribution theory.) For people taking psychiatric medications for mental illness, there's often a lot going on in both mind and body, and it… Continue reading Do You Tend to Blame Your Mental Illness or Your Psych Meds?

cannabis plant leaves
Mental Illness Treatment

Cannabis & Mental Illness: What Does the Research Say?

Cannabis.  It's a plant that's well known for getting people high, but it's also become increasingly accepted for medicinal purposes, particularly for pain and nausea.  But what do we know about the interaction between cannabis and mental illness? There's been a clearly established link between cannabis use and triggering the onset of psychotic illness in… Continue reading Cannabis & Mental Illness: What Does the Research Say?