Is the medication Working?

The most obvious reason a psychiatrist needs a follow-up visit is to evaluate if the medication that was prescribed is working. Psychiatrists first want to determine if the client is tolerating the medication. If a particular medication is going to be part of an ongoing treatment, it’s important to make sure there are no bad reactions or negative side effects. Psychiatrists are skilled at addressing side effects to reduce or eliminate them or making decisions about continuing a particular medication. The other reason for medication follow-up visits is to evaluate if the medication is working and helping. A decision needs to be made about continuing the medication or trying something different.

Will adjustments Need to be Made?

Most psychiatrists will start a client on the lowest dose of any medication. A low dose reduces the risks if they have bad side effects and cannot tolerate it. Some people are quite sensitive to medications and only need a very low dose, which is another reason to start out with a low dose. Many clients will need their psychiatrist to adjust their medication to a high dose. Variables like a high metabolism or low absorption may affect needing higher doses. Other times, psychiatrists may look at adding different medications to augment further and enhance the primary medication’s ability to work if there is only a partial response. Many antidepressants can be supplemented with various drugs.

Why is there On-going Monitoring?

Many people question why, if they are stable and medications are working, they need to come back for follow-up visits. Often, psychiatrists will start spacing out visits once a client is stable, but ongoing medical checks are both a necessity and a requirement. Many variables can affect a person’s stability, such as new medical conditions, other medications being taken, life events, and other stressors. Psychiatrists are there to determine if medications are losing their efficacy, need adjusting, or possibly need to be changed. Because psychotropic medications are mood and sometimes mind-altering, closer monitoring is needed. Psychiatrists have ethical, professional, and legal obligations to do monitoring regardless of how stable a client is. Taking medication is a form of treatment and treatments require monitoring. It would be negligent, or possibly even malpractice if treatment was not monitored and something medication-related happened to the client. Monitoring also allows evaluating medications to determine if they should be discontinued and are no longer needed. Many people work through their depression and anxiety and may wish to get off their medication, especially if it is no longer needed. In these instances, follow up visits are used to coach people on how to wean down appropriately so they don’t have rebound symptoms. Patient care comes first, and your psychiatrist is there to be an objective expert and aid in long-term care and recovery.

If you want to meet with a psychiatrist to explore treating your concerns, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our psychiatric providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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