Lesson 3 Psychopharmaceutical Drugs

In some cases, medical support is needed in the treatment of mental illness. This group of medicines is called psychotropic drugs. These are substances that influence certain metabolic processes in the brain and thus change the mental state – experts speak of psychoactive or -tropic effects. As already discussed above, in severe mental illnesses, messenger substances in the brain are not processed and transmitted correctly. This can be supported by the administration of medication. The type of medication, the dosage and the duration of use are individual and are discussed with the doctor or psychiatrist and checked regularly, also by means of blood tests.

When taking medication, it is important to stay in contact with the attending physician about any abnormalities and possible side effects. Independent medication or discontinuation against the doctor’s advice can have major consequences. In some cases, it is therefore advisable to take the dosage of a new medication in an inpatient context, as one can be better monitored and cared for medically here.

With regard to antidepressants, which also fall into the group of psychotropic drugs, it should be mentioned that they often help to increase the drive of patients. This also has the consequence that increasing activity can lead to more suicidal acts, as the drive to do so is higher than before. If suicidal thoughts already exist before taking medication, those affected should seek inpatient treatment.