Pacific Pain & Wellness Group in Torrance offers expert psychiatric care and mental health treatments including psychotropic medication management. For many patients who benefit from these medications, our team is dedicated to providing world-class care.
Medication management is an invaluable aspect of our comprehensive psychiatric services. It helps us to ensure that you experience optimal well being, both physically and mentally. Whether you are currently taking psychotropic medications or suspect that you may need them, our highly skilled and experienced psychiatrists are here to help.
Our team has decades of collective experience using psychotropic medications to treat a variety of mental health disorders. The psychiatrists at Pacific Pain & Wellness Group have a thorough and in-depth understanding of psychotropic medications, how they can help, and when to use them.
As part of your overall mental health treatment plan, your psychiatrist will conduct a comprehensive consultation and intake, full medical history, psychological evaluation, and make recommendations for treatment.
Our Psychotropic Medication Management Services
Our services include several steps to help you safely manage your symptoms and feel better. These steps include:
Initial evaluation of your symptoms and potential need for medication
Prescribing the appropriate medication(s)
Conducting follow-up appointments to evaluate symptom relief
Assessment for unpleasant side effects
Adjusting your medication type and dosage, if necessary
Continuing to monitor your medical and mental health periodically
Types of Psychotropic Medications
There are five types of psychotropic drug categories that help manage symptoms. These include the following:
Mood stabilizing medications
It is very important to understand the different types of antidepressants that your psychiatrist may prescribe for you. A deeper understanding of how they work will help you learn about how they can improve your depression symptoms.
Your psychiatrist will consider several things before prescribing a particular medication for you. The first consideration is how your symptoms are affecting your life. Symptoms can show up on a spectrum of severity levels from mild to severe. Based on your severity, your psychiatrist will narrow down which medications would likely be a good fit for you.
Your doctor will then ask about antidepressants you’ve tried before, adverse reactions you may have had, allergies to medications, current medications you’re taking, and gather your complete medical/psychiatric history.
Once your antidepressant medication is figured out, the next thing to consider is your dosage amount. The amount of medication you’ll be prescribed (and the strength of each pill) will be based on what the doctor feels would work best to reduce your symptoms.
The response to antidepressant medications varies from person to person. For some patients, they may experience a reduction of symptoms but not get full relief. For others, they may need to use multiple medications to help achieve mood stability and balance. Our goal is to help reduce your symptoms to the greatest degree possible.
Along with antidepressant medications, we often recommend attending personal therapy to help you with cognitions (thoughts) that may be contributing to your depression. We have a team of highly skilled cognitive behavioral therapists (CBT) who can help you learn new ways of thinking. New cognitions will positively affect how you’re feeling.
If you’re already seeing a therapist, continuing to work with him/her will be extremely beneficial for managing your depression. Be sure to let them know when you start taking medication so that they can be aware of any changes in your thoughts or behaviors. If changes occur, that may warrant a follow-up visit with us to adjust your medication.
There are several types of antidepressants that can be prescribed. These include:
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)
TCAs are associated with a greater number of side effects, so they are not usually used as a first line treatment for depression disorders. They work on your brain’s norepinephrine and serotonin (to a smaller degree) reuptake receptors by blocking their ability to reuptake these two brain chemicals.
TCAs leave more serotonin and norepinephrine available for the brain to use, which can improve mood and reduce depressive symptoms. Lower doses of TCAs appear to have a similar effect as higher doses, so if this type of medication is the only one that works for you, your doctor will prescribe the lowest dose possible.
SSRIs are usually the first line of treatment for depressive disorders. SSRIs work to block the reuptake of serotonin in the brain’s serotonin receptors. Specifically, this action occurs in the synapse, or space, between neurons and receptors.
Similar to the way TCAs work, SSRIs leave more serotonin available for the brain to use. With more of this mood-boosting chemical available, symptoms of depression may be improved.
SNRIs block reuptake of two neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and serotonin. As with the aforementioned medications, SNRIs stop reuptake of these chemicals by the brain’s serotonin and norepinephrine receptors. This allows more of both neurotransmitters to be used for improving mood.
General Information About Antidepressants
All antidepressant medications come in different dosages and they each work in different ways. This delicate balance of finding the right combination for you can be compared to a carefully choreographed dance that you and your psychiatrist perform together. Therefore, it is imperative that all medications are taken as prescribed and that you attend regular follow-ups.
Innovative Treatments for Depression at Pacific Pain & Wellness Group
If antidepressants do not work for you, we have several cutting-edge options that are geared toward treatment-resistant depression. One of these treatments is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which generates a magnetic field that is focused on the front left (prefrontal cortex) area of the brain. This region is thought to be involved in depression. Some of our patients experience relief using this painless TMS treatment.
Depression that is not successfully treated with any of the aforementioned options can sometimes be treated with ketamine infusions. Ketamine has been safely used for decades as an anesthetic in surgery.
Today, we are using low dose ketamine in intravenous form to quickly improve mood, reduce feelings of hopelessness, and decrease suicidal thoughts in patients with severe depression. A series of infusions will rapidly get your symptoms under control. Periodic “booster” infusions will be recommended to maintain your results.
This class of medication works to reduce symptoms of anxiety including anxious thoughts and physiological reactions to those anxious thoughts. They are designed to have a calming effect.
Some medications are short acting, meaning that they work very quickly and are used on an as-needed basis. Other anti-anxiety meds are long acting, which means that they are taken on a regular basis to maintain a steady level of medication in the bloodstream. The type of medication your psychiatrist prescribes will depend on your diagnosis and the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
Short Acting Anti-Anxiety Meds
Short acting medications may be prescribed if you have social anxiety, performance anxiety, or are going through a stressful time in your life. This type of medicine can help you cope with overwhelming circumstances.
Short acting meds that are often used include antihistamines and beta-blockers. Because these are short acting, they work fast and wear off in a few hours. This means that it can be taken as needed based on how you’re feeling or the situation that you’re in.
Long Acting Anti-Anxiety Meds
Long acting medications are used for disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (to name a few). There are a variety of other disorders that long acting medication can help with, and your doctor will assess whether this type would be appropriate for you.
If you’re prescribed a long-acting medicine, you’ll need to take it every day to build up and maintain your ideal medication levels. This may take several weeks to months to accomplish.
Anxiety disorders can sometimes be helped with antidepressant medications. Your psychiatrist will fully evaluate your symptoms and your diagnosis to determine if using a combination approach is better for you.
If you were prescribed an antidepressant, it would be an SSRI, SNRI, or TCA medication. Some recent studies on the use of anticonvulsant medications are showing positive results for reducing anxiety symptoms as well, but more research is needed.
Along with medication, your psychiatrist will likely recommend individual therapy to help you work on the cognitive portion of your anxiety disorder. Therapy modalities such as CBT and exposure and response prevention therapy (ERPT) are evidence-based practices that are shown to reduce anxiety and improve one’s quality of life.
Antipsychotics are a class of medication that is used to treat individuals who are experiencing either hallucinations (hearing or seeing things) or delusions (difficulty staying grounded in reality). These medications are generally used for treating schizophrenic disorders.
It is imperative that antipsychotics are taken on a daily basis, even if your symptoms are totally gone. Schizophrenia and its related disorders can come back (relapse) within a few days or weeks of stopping medication, so maintaining your routine can help prevent relapse.
If relapse occurs, even while you’re taking your medicine, your psychiatrist can help you adjust your medication so that you start to feel better as quickly as possible. One or more medications may be used to help you manage symptoms, especially if you are also experiencing a comorbid disorder such as depression or anxiety.
These medications can have pronounced side effects, which are sometimes difficult enough to cause a person to stop taking their medications altogether. This is not a good solution because once the medication is stopped, psychotic symptoms will quickly return and relapse occurs. We will work with you to find the right balance between minimal side effects and maximum symptom relief.
Mood stabilizing medications are used to treat bipolar disorder I, which is the bipolar type that includes both depressive and manic states. Symptoms of mania can include hallucinations and delusions along with a heightened mood, less sleep, and racing or disorganized thoughts.
Bipolar disorder can present with mood swings that wildly sway from depression to a manic state in distinct phases and over periods of time. For others with bipolar, they may experience rapid cycling of these mood states or have both depression and manic symptoms all at once (mixed state).
Mood stabilizers can help balance your mood and allow you to maintain a steady state of mind. Bipolar disorder can be extremely disruptive and cause major impairment when it is uncontrolled. Our psychiatrists have many years of experience treating patients with bipolar disorder, so you can feel confident in the treatment that you’ll receive.
If your medications are not working as well as you’d like, there are several suggestions our team may make:
Lowering or increasing your medication dosage
Taking the medication first thing in the morning or late at night
Trying it with food if it is working too fast or upsetting your stomach
Take other medications to reduce any unwanted side effects
Trying a different medication altogether to see if it works better
Stimulants help to reduce symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specifically, they can help calm a person’s thoughts, reduce restlessness, and improve concentration and focus.
Each person is different and may respond to a certain type of stimulant in differing ways, so careful monitoring of medication and symptoms is a crucial part of any treatment plan. The first line treatment for ADD and ADHD is medication that lasts for an extended amount of time and is continually released into the bloodstream.
Most adults with ADD started experiencing symptoms when they were children, but may not have understood what their symptoms meant. It can be a huge relief to get a formal evaluation and diagnosis from a psychiatrist because now there is a name for what you’ve been experiencing and hope for effectively treating it.
In addition to medication management for ADD, we also offer ADD testing for adults. This can help you find the cause for your symptoms and get a treatment plan that uniquely meets your needs.
Many of our patients are extremely relieved when they finally receive an answer to their question, “Why am I like this?” Not only that, but they also feel relieved to learn about treatment options that will reduce their symptoms, improve their day-to-day functioning, and experience a higher quality of life.
Psychotropic Medication Management in Torrance
At Pacific Pain & Wellness Group, we care about you as much as you do. Our goal is to help you think better so you can feel better. When this includes psychotropic medication, we’ll make sure you get a proper evaluation, medication plan, and periodic appointments to keep you balanced.
Contact our compassionate and experienced psychiatrists today to set up an initial consultation by calling us at (310) 437-7399.