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Psychiatric medication

Explains what psychiatric drugs are, what to know before taking them, and information on side effects and coming off medication.

How do I know if a drug is right for me?

Medications can work in different ways for different people. It’s not always possible to predict exactly which drug will suit you. But there are things you can do to help find the medication that works for best you:

  • Review your medication regularly. Your doctor or psychiatrist should give you a regular chance to talk about how you are getting on with your medication. For example, they should ask how you are feeling and whether the medication is helping. You can also discuss whether you are experiencing any side effects.
  • Discuss any problems with your GP or psychiatrist. They might be able to offer you an alternative type of medication or treatment. Or they can advise you about how to manage your medication to reduce any problems.
  • Ask for a second opinion. Sometimes you may feel worried or unsure about your diagnosis or treatment. You can ask your GP or psychiatrist to refer you to another healthcare professional for a second opinion. You have the right to do this.
  • Pharmacists can give you information about your medication, for example about side effects. Most high street pharmacists have a private consulting room. This can help if you don't feel comfortable talking to them over the counter. You could take a list of questions with you to help remember everything you want to ask.
  • Some drugs take a while to start working. You might need to take them for a certain period before deciding whether they are suitable for you.

Remember: it is your decision whether or not medication is the right treatment for you. You have the right to change your mind.

It took several trials of different medications at different strengths before the right combination worked for me. 

This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.

References and bibliography available on request.

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