Research-based “best practice” for many disorders such as mood and attention include the use of prescription medication as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Medications can minimize symptoms, improve life functioning, and help people benefit from other forms of treatment such as therapy. Due to a proliferation in the numbers and types of medications available today, however, psychiatrists and nurse-practitioners need to carefully “titrate” the type and dosage of medications to ensure that a person is receiving high quality care. Titration involves monitoring the positive benefits of specific medications at specific dosages while minimizing any negative side effects that may occur. Over time, the same medication may not produce the same benefits. Helping patients find and use the most beneficial medication as part of their overall health care is known as “medication management.”
Is medication treatment the only option for my child’s mental health diagnosis?
No, studies show the most effective treatment for most mental health concerns is the combination of psychotherapy and medication management.
Will medication take away my child’s personality?
No, providers are trained to prescribe medications at a low and safe dose that will not interfere with any of their personality. Instead, it may take the “edge off” and reduce many of the concerned symptoms that were present. Additionally, it can be important to remember that most often the anxiety or depressive symptoms are the true culprit in causing children to “act different” and “not be themselves.” Medication that is prescribed for the specific disorder which it is designed and is properly dosed will not cause negative personality change.
Does my child need medication?
Children with a wide range of mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety) are often prescribed medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Individuals with ADHD often take medications as part of their treatment plan, too. Ascend’s medication management team remains current with established medication treatments as well as new treatments that come onto the market. By helping patients learn about the best medication treatment from the available options, Ascend’s medication management services are both medical and educational in nature.
What does Medication Management look like at Ascend?
Ascend’s psychiatric nurse practitioner sees children, adolescents, and adults. Treatment typically begins with an intake examination. The psychiatrist considers factors such as appearance, attitude, behavior, mood, speech, and thought processes to determine the client’s current state of mind. When this information is combined with the patient’s medical history and presenting concerns, the psychiatrist can make an accurate diagnosis and formulate an individualized treatment plan for that person.
Before medication is decided upon, the psychiatric nurse practitioner fully educates the patient (and the family, when treating a child or adolescent) regarding the potential risks and benefits of multiple treatment options as well as no treatment. The psychiatric nurse practitioner works with the patient to determine which medications will be most effective while minimizing potential side effects. The frequency of follow-up appointments varies from weeks to months depending on the type, severity, and stability of each patient’s condition and his/her response to the prescribed medication. Ascend’s psychiatric nurse practitioner is uniquely positioned to collaborate with other Ascend’s providers and professionals outside the practice to coordinate the best overall care, with the patient’s signed consent.