Mental illness and medication use in pregnancy - graphic of pregnant woman and health icons
Psych Meds

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, suicide risk, and the FDA black box warning
Psych Meds

Antidepressants, Suicide Risk, and the FDA Black Box Warning

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, Suicide Risk, and the FDA Black Box Warning

Do we know how psych meds work? Yes and no - graphic of a neural synapse
Psych Meds

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?

The role of medication for borderline personality disorder
Psych Meds

What’s the Role of Medications for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a hard-to-treat condition that can cause significant distress for those living with it. While the gold standard for treatment is psychotherapy, specifically dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), medications may also play a supporting role, and that's what this post will focus on. Antidepressants Antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, are some of the most… Continue reading What’s the Role of Medications for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Big Pharma and psychiatry: Dancing too close?
Psych Meds

Pharma & Psychiatry: Dancing too Close?

This is a follow-up to a recent post on why I think direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is wrong This post is going to look specifically at marketing by drug companies aimed at health care professionals. Primarily this relationship between Big Pharma and psychiatry involves targeting physicians, since they're doing the majority of the prescribing.… Continue reading Pharma & Psychiatry: Dancing too Close?

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescriptions drugs
Psych Meds

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychiatric Prescription Drugs

In many countries, direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is either prohibited or tightly restricted. The United States is a notable exception, along with New Zealand. What harms is this likely to cause? For tv ads, the standard pattern is to talk about the illness, talk about the amazing benefits of the drug, and then provide… Continue reading Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychiatric Prescription Drugs

scale with uneven balance
Psych Meds, Stop the Stigma

Letters from Generation Rx—Weighing Medication Risks & Benefits

I recently watched the documentary Letters From Generation Rx, which looked at instances of people experiencing significant side effects while on psychiatric medication, including people who took the lives of either themselves or others while on psychiatric meds. One man featured in the film was a Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) whose teenage daughter had… Continue reading Letters from Generation Rx—Weighing Medication Risks & Benefits

My experiences of temporarily going off psych meds
Psych Meds

My Experiences of (Temporarily) Going Off Psych Meds

I have never had a problem with medications in general, and in my work as a nurse, I've seen how much good they can do.  Despite that, I've gone off the meds I take for depression a few times, and that's what this post is about. My first episode of depression was in 2007.  I… Continue reading My Experiences of (Temporarily) Going Off Psych Meds

Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression
MH@H Depression, Psych Meds

Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression

I love Canada, but sometimes we're a little behind. Drug approval by Health Canada is slower than in the US, and fewer clinical trials are done here. I'd be really interested in trying out ketamine, but it doesn't have Health Canada approval for use in depression, there are no clinical trials in my neck of… Continue reading Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Evidence-based treatment of mental illness
Psych Meds

Evidence-Based Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

In this post I'll take a look at some of the available guidelines for evidence-based treatment of anxiety disorders. While psychotherapies are extremely important in the management of anxiety disorders, this post will focus only on anti-anxiety medications. The treatment guidelines I refer to come from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the World Federation… Continue reading Evidence-Based Treatment of Anxiety Disorders