The Role of Medication in Managing Mental Health Disorders

The Role of Medication in Managing Mental Health Disorders

People who struggle with a mental health disorder might hesitate to use mental health medication like antidepressants or antipsychotics because:

  • They are afraid of a stigma
  • They don’t want to rely on medication
  • They worry about side effects
  • They don’t understand how the medicine works

Understanding the role of medication in managing your mental health disorder or that of a loved one is important. Knowing how these medications work and the sometimes vital role they play in changing brain structure and function for the better can provide the necessary information for you to take action.

Water Gap Wellness Center is a Pennsylvania mental health treatment center that can help. Contact us today to learn more.

Mental Health Medication Types

Medication plays an essential role in managing several mental health disorders. Studies show that medication is more effective when combined with therapy, so receiving both concurrently increases your likelihood of managing symptoms and improving your quality of life.


Antidepressants are a category of medication that can only be prescribed by a doctor if you are receiving treatment from a mental health professional.

Antidepressants increase the activity of specific chemicals in your brain and helping that activity last longer, specifically things like noradrenaline and serotonin. These neurotransmitters move messages from your brain to other parts of your body, and in certain mental health conditions like severe depression or anxiety, they don’t work properly.

Antidepressants can change brain chemistry in some people and correct a chemical imbalance that alleviates or reduces symptoms of a mental health condition. 

Used for:

  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Phobias
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD

Common forms of antidepressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclics
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)


Antipsychotics can be prescribed in many ways, like tablets or liquids. Antipsychotic drugs reduce or control symptoms like confusion, mania, agitation, delusions, paranoia, incoherent speech, or violent behavior.

Antipsychotics will not alleviate these symptoms entirely, but they can help stabilize how you feel so that things like anxiety, hearing voices, or having muddled thinking go away and don’t disrupt your daily function.

Used for:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder

Common forms of antipsychotics:

  • Haloperidol (Dozic, Haldol, Haldol decanoate, Serenace)
  • Olanzapine (Zalasta, Zyprexa, ZypAdhera)
  • Quetiapine (Atrolak, Biquelle, Ebesque, Seroquel, Tenprolide, Zaluron)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal, Risperdal Consta).

Mood Stabilizers

Mood stabilizers get their name because they are designed to stabilize extreme mood problems, especially high and low mood swings. There are several groups of mood stabilizers like lithium, but individuals who receive a prescription might also be prescribed antipsychotics or anticonvulsants.

Used for:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mania
  • Severe depression
  • Schizoaffective disorder

Common forms of mood stabilizers:

  • Lithium
  • Carbamazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Valproate 

How Long Do I Need Mental Health Medication?

Whether you were given antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, receiving medication as part of your comprehensive treatment plan affords you the opportunity to work with a team of healthcare professionals or individual therapists.

If you receive medication as part of your comprehensive treatment, including other forms of therapy or holistic care, you might have a medication management service that reviews the effectiveness of your prescriptions and helps determine at what point you may or may not need to continue reliance.

There are a few mental health conditions that may require long-term use of medication like:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • ADHD

But other conditions could be moderate enough that learning things like coping skills and trigger identification with therapy could give you better control over symptoms such that you only need medication for acute issues like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety 

Professional Medication Monitoring

With Water Gap Wellness Center, clients can benefit from receiving personalized mental health treatment. We offer several forms of flexible outpatient programs that combine evidence-based therapies with holistic practice and medication.

Clients who receive an official diagnosis and recommendation for medication will also receive ongoing support and monitoring from our team during the course of their program. This monitoring goes a long way toward determining which medications are most effective. 

For example, out of the several types of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants, it might take at least one month or several months to determine the efficacy of lithium as compared to other mood stabilizers or SSRIs for depression. 

With our team, you’ll have regular contact during your therapy sessions, where you can discuss the range and severity of your symptoms. Over time, you’ll be able to monitor whether those symptoms are less severe or less frequent as a result of your medication and at what point you may or may not need to continue.

Reach out to our mental health IOP today to learn more about mental health medications and how they can help.

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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