What are medications for mental illnesses?
Deciding whether to start your child on medication can be a difficult decision. Below we have printable information on the use of specific medications in children and youth.
Medications for treating mental illnesses are also sometimes called psychiatric medications. These medications are used to treat the symptoms of many mental illnesses. These medications are prescribed by doctors, such as family physicians and psychiatrists, and are often used with other treatments such as counselling or psychotherapy. They can play and important role in treating many mental illnesses.
When discussing the use of psychiatric medications with your doctor, open communication can help to find the right psychiatric medication(s) for you child or youth.
- Medications will not produce the same effect in all children/youth.
- Changes in dose(s) and/or psychiatric medication(s) are not unusual and may help in reducing the negative health and well-being effects on your child/youth.
- All medications, including herbal supplements and over the counter medications, as well as other forms of treatment, should be discussed with your doctor. If these treatments are used in combination with psychiatric medications there may be drug interactions or side effects that may be dangerous for your child.
Ask your doctor for clarification on anything you don’t understand. Communication supports shared decision-making and improves treatment outcomes.
What is the name of the medication? Are there generic versions? Are different brands all the same?
What is the medication supposed to do? How it can help address the symptoms?
Why are you recommending this medication for my child over other ones on the market?
How and when should my child take it?
How much should my child take?
What if my child cannot swallow a pill, are there any other options?
What should I do if my child misses a dose?
When and how should my child stop taking it?
Will it interact with other medications my child is taking?
Does my child need to avoid any types of food or drink while taking the medication? What should they avoid?
Should it be taken with or without food?
What are the risks of drinking alcohol or using substances while taking this medication?
What are the side effects? What should I do if my child experiences them? What signs/changes (physical, feelings, daily routines) in our child should we be aware of while they are on psychiatric medications?
How can I explain the possible effects of taking psychiatric medications to my child?
What should I do if I suspect my child is not taking their medication as prescribed?
Is there a handout regarding the medication for me to take home?
Where can I find more reliable information about the psychiatric medication or who can I talk to if I have concerns/questions about the medications?
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