Types Of Psychiatric Medications

Coming to Terms with the Different Types of Psychiatric Medications

Although the pharmaceutical industry has made major headway over the years, there is no panacea of psychiatric prescriptions that will cure every mental malady. Instead, different psychiatric medications have been designed to treat specific psychiatric conditions. Even then, there are a host of different treatment options available in each category of mental health, so you need to work closely with your mental health professional to find one that’s an exact match for your needs. With this in mind, there are a few other things to take under consideration when evaluating psychiatric medication options:

  • Do NOT attempt to self-medicate. Many of these drugs have serious side effects and health risks that must be monitored by your doctor.
  • It may take time and a trial and error approach to find the perfect prescription for your mental health.
  • As you begin a new medication, pay careful attention to your moods, health and other aspects to guard against surprises or negative reactions.

ADHD/Narcolepsy/Clinical Depression

The following drugs are often used to treat all of the above conditions, as well as obesity. Most of these are stimulant based, and it’s critical that they are not used for recreational or other off-label purposes. Common medications in this area include: Strattera, Adderall and Ritalin.

Chemical Dependency (Including Alcoholism, Opioid and Nicotine Dependency)

For those struggling with one type of chemical dependency or another, meetings may not be enough to manage the problem. In these instances, psychiatric medications are often employed to increase the likelihood of success and lasting change. Examples in this category include Campral, Subutex, Dolophine, Vivitrol and Chantix.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders come in a number of different shapes and sizes, and so do the psychiatric medications used to treat them. Each prescription is used to treat various anxiety disorders ranging from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD and specific phobias. Examples include: Xanax, Buspar, Klonopin, Valium, Lexapro, Prozac, Ativan and Lyrica.


Autism is another psychological disorder treated through therapy and counseling combined with a pharmaceutical solution. Most often, the drug prescribed to autistic individuals is Risperdal, which is also used to treat bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is also known as “manic-depressive disorder” and is marked by a rollercoaster of emotions and moods, ranging from the heights of happiness (the mania) to the very depths of depression. The shift can happen seemingly instantaneously, and each phase can last from days to months. Common medications used to treat bipolar disorder include Abilify, Neurontin, Risperdal, Seroquel, Depakote, and Depakene.

Major Depressive Disorders

Major depressive disorder is when a person exhibits at least five symptoms of depression and that last for over two weeks’ time. Symptoms include sadness, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, pervasive pessimism, among others. Psychiatric medicine treatment options often include Elavil, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft or Effexor.


Although not everyone thinks of insomnia as a psychological disorder, long periods without restful, regular sleep can do strange things to the mind. Those who suffer from long-term insomnia can often find relief through prescription drugs like Ambien or Trazodone.


Psychosis is a generalized medical term that is used to describe instances where individuals have lost contact with reality, adopting false ideas about what is going on in the world or who they are (known as delusions) or even seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there (hallucinations). Psychosis can range from moderate to severe instances, and so do the strengths of the drugs used to treat them, including: Truxal, Neurocil and Haldol.

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