Psych Meds Made Simple

Psych Meds Made Simple by Ashley L. Peterson book cover

Psych Meds Made Simple: How & Why They Do What They Do is the first book by Ashley L. Peterson from MH@H Books.

You can find it on:

About the book

People living with mental illness are often left out of the loop when it comes to understanding how exactly medications work.  This book will explain pharmacology in a simplified, accessible way to help you understand the effects, both positive and negative, of psychiatric medications and why these effects occur.  It’s everything you didn’t realize you wanted to know about medications!

Psych Meds Made Simple begins with the essentials of pharmacology and then moves on to cover all the major classes of psychiatric medications.  You’ll learn why one medication in a particular class might be a better fit for you than another.  Are you having weight gain from your medication?  You’ll find out why, and what other meds may be less likely to have the same side effect.

I’ve pulled together what I’ve learned in my training as a nurse and (former) pharmacist and years of clinical experience, added in my personal perspective from having taken many of these medications, and distilled it all down to the essential elements you need to know.

I’ve written this book from the perspective that medications can be a powerful tool against mental illness; however, they’re not a cure and they should never be the only tool in your toolbox.  The more you know, the better position you’re in to make decisions about your own health and illness.

Chapter List
  1. Neurotransmitters and receptors
  2. Psychopharmacology fundamentals – how medications behave inside the body
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Mood stabilizers
  5. Antipsychotics
  6. Anxiolytics and sedatives
  7. Stimulants
  8. Putting the pieces together

Readers’ Responses to Psych Meds Made Simple


The book itself was very user-friendly. I’m a therapist and I can see myself referring to this book as I work with clients who are receiving medication management.

– Johnzelle Anderson, Panoramic Counseling
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Overall, Psych Meds Made Simple was a great read. Author Ashley Peterson cares deeply about providing readers with non-judgmental, science-based information, and her writing reflects that. In a misinformation-riddled society that deeply stigmatizes mental illness, Psych Meds Made Simple is a compassionate and scientifically accurate breath of fresh air.

– Hannah Celeste, Books and Bakes

I loved this book and I recommend it for anyone who’s confused about their medications and wants to learn more about how they interact with their brain.

– Casey Elizabeth Dennis, This Bipolar Brat

I learned so much, and I honestly marvel at the depth of the research…  In my country, there is still such a pervasive culture of the doctor knows best, and the patient is just supposed to take them medication. Now, some patients and carers can start asking real questions while requesting for medication adjustments and re-adjustments.

– Marie Abanga, MAG’s Blog

It reads as a great primer for anyone who wants to understand psychopharmacology, written by someone who’s been there both personally and professionally. 

– Meg Kimball, author of Unraveled, on Goodreads

About Ashley L. Peterson

author Ashley L. Peterson, creator of Mental Health @ Home

I began my career in health care as a pharmacist in 2002, and quickly returned to school to become a nurse two years later. I specialized in the field of mental health for my entire 15-year career, working with people with serious mental illness in both hospital and community settings.

Two years into my nursing career, I was hospitalized with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.  Since then, I’ve been passionate about challenging the stigma around mental illness.  I completed a Master of Psychiatric Nursing degree in 2015, despite two hospitalizations while in grad school. My thesis work and several academic journal publications focused on my experience of mental illness within the context of nursing culture.


More from MH@H on Psych Meds

Psych meds 101 from Mental Health @ Home

Psych meds 101

This series is a great place to go for the basics on common types of psychiatric medications:


Other treatment options


Side effects


More on meds

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