Are Your Psych Med Side Effects Worse Than Benefit

Depending on the person and the type of psychiatric medication they are taking, the side effects experienced are wide and varied. Some are often an annoyance while others become just too much to live with on a daily basis, making thousands of patients left to decide if the side effects are worth the treatment and management of their disorders or diagnoses. When side effects for psychotropic medications lead to the belief a person is actually worse off taking the drugs, it is time for a full comprehensive exam and medication review by a qualified and experienced psychiatrist.

Unbearable Side Effects

Many people report that their side effects make living with a disorder or mental health diagnosis worse than the struggle through life without any medications. Some of the side effects that lead people away from medication are debilitating movement disorders, intense restlessness and agitation, sexual dysfunctions, or potentially life-threatening health risks. A review of some of the main side effects of the common classes of psychiatric drugs follow:

Common Side Effects of Antidepressants

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Sexual problems

Common Side Effects of Anti-Anxiety Medications

  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nightmares

Typical Side Effects of Stimulants

  • Difficulty in falling asleep or in staying asleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Less common effects include:

  • Personality changes – appear emotionless or flat
  • Motor or verbal tics

Possible Effects of Anti-Psychotic Drugs

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Appearance of tics and tremors
  • Seizures
  • A lowered number of white blood cells

Less common effects related to physical movement include:

  • Rigidity
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness

Common Side Effects of Mood Stabilizers

  • Itching, rash
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Slurred speech
  • Heartbeats that are fast, slow, irregular or pounding
  • Seizures
  • Tremors or shaking of hands
  • Changes in vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
  • Swelling of face, tongue, throat, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs

Side Effects or Symptoms Requiring Immediate Attention

Call your doctor right away or seek emergency mental health treatment if you experience any of the following:

  • Thoughts of suicide or dying, or attempting suicide
  • New or worsening depression
  • New or worsening anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • New behaviors of aggression, anger or violence
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Extreme insomnia or restlessness

Manage Medication Side Effects Successfully

If psychiatric medications are causing you side effects that are becoming more and more intolerable, call the office for a comprehensive review for medication management of your mental health disorder or concern that will allow you to enjoy life once again. Call Dr. Hege, a local highly esteemed and experienced psychiatrist with decades of successful treatment planning while keeping those annoying side effects to an absolute minimum.

About Darvin Hege

Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is an Emory Hospital residency trained psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years. He maintains over 50 hours of AMA certified education each year to stay informed of advances in psychiatry.

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