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  • Writer's pictureDr Abrar Hussain

Do Medications work?

Medications can form an important part of the care plan in mental health. A holistic treatment approach involves medication (biological), therapy (psychological) and environment (social) and is referred to as ‘biopsychosocial’ treatment. As in any other field of medicine, medications play a role both in treatment and preventing relapse. It is important to remember that before medications are approved for use in clinical practice, they gave gone through rigorous trials and regulations.

The use of medication in psychiatric treatment has attracted a lot of debate with strong views expressed on both sides.

For me, it is about the individual patient and what helps them get better and stay better. It is about being well enough to function in life. It is about being able to reduce psychological distress.

I have seen medications work in so many patients (and I would always aim for the lowest effective dose). At the same time, in some patients, medications don’t seem to work. There can be a number of reasons for this which I will not go into in this particular article. We see the same issue with medications prescribed for physical health conditions.

Research has helped us understand that the combination of medication and therapy is better than just medication or therapy. However, for some patients, therapy may not work or be practical or be quick enough. Medication can help engage in therapy by improving mood, motivation and concentration.

It is therefore about individual scenarios and patient choice. It is important to get information from reliable sources and come to an informed decision. Speaking to family and friends can help. Weighing up the pros and cons and having a frank discussion in our consultations can help you decide.

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