Councelor/Therapist Questions Mental Health

What are the guidelines for recommending psychiatric medication?

I have been doing cbt for a mental illness I have. I think i need medication as i am still suffering. Are there certain guidelines or criteria i need to meet to get prescribed medication?

13 Answers

It would be best to consult a psychiatrist who can conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms to determine if medication will help you.
Hello, sorry to hear you are still suffering. There are several guidelines for medication to be prescribed, but that is a conversation you need to have with your primary doctor or a psychiatrist if you are working with one. Good luck!
No. None at all. If you think you might benefit from medications, go to a psychiatrist. This is what we are trained to do. Medications can help a lot, but they are not a magic wand and won't make all your problems disappear. But they certainly can help and there are many more choices of medications available now than there were just 30 years ago. Research is being conducted all the time. The brain is complicated... we have much to learn still.
As a therapist, this is what I tell clients. But when considering medication, it is important to also consult with a psychiatrist as they are the ones that prescribe. When a client is in conflict with whether or not to take a medication we explore these areas: can you function in your daily tasks? work, feeding yourself, caring for those you are responsible for, enjoying your life. If you are unable to perform basic tasks, if you are consumed with negative thinking that you are unable to learn new behaviors, healthy habits, then consult with a psychiatrist. Otherwise, it may be the commitment to change hat is the problem, the willingness to do the hard work, confidence in your ability, or the negative beliefs that keep you stuck. All questions to ponder. And of course then weighing the risks and benefits of medications.
Ask your therapist for a recommendation for a psychiatrist. Talk with them about your concerns and thoughts. Make a list of all your symptoms with your current therapist to take to the doctor.
If your target symptoms persist after CBT it may be that a combination of CBT with medications might be superior to CBT alone.
An accurate diagnosis and an accurate prescription. However, different people respond differently to medications and you may have to try several before finding one that works for you
You should ask your therapist what he/she thinks is wrong with you. The DSM V lists the criteria for all psychiatric diagnoses. Medications and CBT can complement each other.
Medications to treat depression are available if cognitive behavior therapy is not completely helping you. There are concomitant biochemical changes in the brain in depression which can be the targets for antidepressants.
Your symptoms were mild enough that therapy would be sufficient, and medications would not be necessary. In mild cases of some psychiatric illnesses, therapy (or counseling), including CBT, is often the appropriate first-line treatment for such symptoms. If, however, therapy proves insufficient, the next step in treatment is an evaluation by a psychiatrist, as medications in combination with therapy are likely what is necessary at this point in treatment. I hope that gave you some clarity, and I wish you the best!

Lisa Fairweather, D.O.
I'm sorry to hear that. There are not necessarily "guidelines," however, physicians prescribe medications based on certain symptoms and criteria, just as we treat other ailments like high blood pressure and type two diabetes. My first advice is to consult with your primary care physician, as most PCP's are the first line physicians in initiating treatment. You should contact your local department of mental health if you do not have a PCP and they can help refer you to a psychiatrist. You should go to the emergency room/seek emergency care should you experience severe depressive symptoms, such as having any thoughts of plans of self harm or harming others or find you are not able to care for yourself, or are experiencing auditory hallucinations (hearing voices that others do not hear). In Los Angeles County, the 24hr crisis line for the department of mental health is 888-854-7771.
My answer to your question is somewhat jaded. In psychiatric practice today, there's something called a med check and somehow the doctors decide what medicine to offer you in a few moments and then send you to the therapist. I don't think that there is a lot of consideration on the part of many professionals when deciding criteria for the employment of medication for depression. I suspect that if you go to most psychiatrists and tell them you are feeling sad and have a sleep disorder or some degree of loss of energy drive or motivation, you will be given the latest advertised psychopharmacological product.

From a different perspective, please allow the following:
There needs to be a careful biological work-up to ensure that you do not have certain neuroendocrine diseases that present as depression. Because depression is defined in terms of its presentation without a known biological marker it is essential that there is meticulous study of your presentation clinically to be certain that a correct diagnosis has been made. It is a terrible decision to initiate medication with an incorrect diagnosis.

Dr. T
This is a great question. A thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist (or even many primary care prescribers) can help to discern this. Often, if a person has done CBT or other therapies for some time with insufficient improvement, it may be time to consider an individualized prescription option. Medication is often (but not always) prescribed for measurable improvements in mood, sleep, appetite, interests, energy, and so on, but of course, would be of limited effect for more situational mental illnesses such as adjustment disorders. Medications may also be of more limited effect in a person who is using drugs or has untreated, underlying medical illness. Remember 911 or the emergency room in case of thoughts to harm yourself or anyone else.