By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in prescribing medications that treat a variety of mental health conditions and diagnoses. Psychiatry approaches treatment medicinally to adjust and stabilize chemical imbalances to alleviate symptoms. The medication classes are named according to the conditions treated or actions of the particular medication group. We will look briefly at the different medications psychiatrists use.


As the name implies, psychiatrists use antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms. These medications help increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms. There have been many advances in these medications over the years. The original tricyclic antidepressants of the 1970s were very sedating and had other negative side effects. Second-generation antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft reduced a lot of the side effects. Now the next generation medications like Lexapro and Cymbalta are faster acting and have fewer side effects still. Psychiatrists are very familiar with all these antidepressants and how to adjust them for the greatest efficacy.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Most the anxiety disorders are also very effectively treated with antidepressants and are often the first choice of psychiatrists in treating anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines, often known as sedatives or tranquilizers, are also used to treat anxiety, usually in acute or severe anxiety such as panic attacks. These medications are fast-acting central nervous system depressants that quickly reduce anxiety. These controlled substances need to be carefully monitored by a psychiatrist.

Mood Stabilizers

This class of medications is usually used by psychiatrists to treat bipolar disorder. They are effective at stabilizing the cyclical mood swings, especially manic symptoms, inherent to bipolar disorder. They are also used at times to treat regular depression. Lithium, Lamictal, and other mood stabilizers require careful management by a psychiatrist.

Antipsychotic Medications

This class of medications is predominantly used to treat schizophrenia to alleviate hallucinations and delusional thinking stemming from an imbalance of dopamine in the brain. These medications are also used at times to treat bipolar disorder and depression. These medications often require the skill and expertise that only psychiatrists possess.

Stimulant Medications

This class of medications is typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These controlled substances are used to stimulate the frontal lobe region of the brain to increase the ability of clients to engage their executive-level skills more easily. Ritalin, Adderall, and other stimulants are medications that psychiatrists are particularly skilled at adjusting.

Maple Grove Psychiatrists

If you are looking for a specialist to help with your medication management, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an individual consultation with one of our psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. 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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