The treatment of mental health disorders frequently includes the use of medications. While medication is a powerful treatment tool, it is not a solution in and of itself. Especially with adolescents and teens, it is essential to approach mental health treatment holistically. In addition to medication, comprehensive, holistic treatment includes individual, group, and family therapy that draws on various evidence-based treatment modalities. A medication management program monitors to ensure that medications are used safely and effectively when medication is needed.
Beyond Healthcare knows the decision to medicate your adolescent does not come lightly. We work with your adolescent and family to ensure you have all of the information needed to make an informed decision. We do not pressure you into choosing medication if you do not feel it is suitable for your adolescent. For questions about medication management, reach out to our team at 833.698.0453.
Why Is Medication Management Important?
Medication use for adolescents and teens with mental health or behavior disorders is controversial. Many feel that medication is overprescribed and abused. While not everyone needs medication, it is a critical component of a comprehensive treatment plan for those who do. Medication management includes the initial evaluation of the need for medication and ongoing monitoring to ensure that those taking medication receive the best possible outcomes.
Finding the proper medication and dosage typically involves some trial and error. The ideal dose varies between types of drugs and among adolescents. When an adolescent starts a new medication, the general rule regarding dosage is to start low and go slow. Signs that medicine is not working or the dosage is too high can vary widely but typically include:
- Significant changes in appetite, including eating too little or too much
- Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Changes to ways of thinking
- Any dramatic change that is not typical for your adolescent
Observations from parents and educators play an essential role in medication management, as does self-reporting from your adolescent. At Beyond Healthcare, our highly-skilled nurse practitioners are well-versed in the subtle differences between medications, recognizing the need for adjustments, and knowing how small changes can result in significant outcomes. We work closely with your adolescent and you to monitor how they respond to their medication.
Understanding Adolescent’s Mental Health Medication
There are four major psychotropic medications for adolescents and teens: mood stabilizers, anti-ADHD medications, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. Following is a look at the most common side effects of each:
- Mood stabilizers – Drowsiness and weight gain
- Anti-ADHD medications – Insomnia and loss of appetite
- Antipsychotics – Drowsiness, weight gain, and abnormal muscle movements
- Antidepressants – Nausea, vomiting, agitation, and sleep disturbances
Signs of allergies to medications or dangerous side effects like suicidal ideation need to be taken seriously and immediately reported. Adolescent’s bodies react differently to drugs, sometimes counterintuitively. For example, adolescents may require higher doses of certain drugs than adults because they metabolize them differently.
What to Ask About Adolescent’s Mental Health Medications
If medication is recommended as part of your adolescent’s comprehensive mental health treatment planning, do not be afraid to ask questions. The more knowledge you have, the more comfortable you will feel. Consider asking the following:
- What is this medication for?
- Is this the only option available?
- What are the potential side effects?
- How long will my adolescent need this medication?
- Are there withdrawal symptoms if a dose is missed?
- What else should I know?
In Beyond Healthcare’s medication management program, we ensure that you fully understand the diagnosis that requires medication and what symptoms the medication will address. Some medicines require specific monitoring to ensure safety, such as periodic blood work, blood pressure checks, or tracking weight and BMI. Others have restrictions regarding drug interactions or foods to avoid.
Contact Beyond Healthcare for Medication Management
Beyond Healthcare understands that using medications as part of your adolescent’s mental health treatment can be a difficult decision. In our medication management program, we provide you will all of the information needed to make a choice that makes you comfortable. We ensure that the adolescents and families in our care receive the best possible treatment outcomes from medications through consistent monitoring.
Contact Beyond Healthcare today to discover the benefits of medication management for mental health and our many other services. Use our online form or call us at 833.698.0453.