With many aspects of addiction and recovery, psychology plays a crucial role. Psychology allows us to understand the causes, effects, and behaviors associated with substances and how individuals recover – it allows us to explore what works and doesn’t work in recovery. The term psychopharmacology is defined as “the scientific study of the effects drugs has on mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior”. Understanding the role of psychopharmacology and its place in your treatment may help you better interact with your therapist and doctor as to how your medications are affecting you.
The American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology emphasizes that clinicians who do this focus on medications for treating mental disorders. There are four main components to this area of study:
- Protein binding (how available the medication is to the body)
- Half-life (how long the medication stays in the body)
- Polymorphic genes (genes which vary widely from person to person)
- Drug-to-drug interactions (how medications affect one another)
This field of study is extremely important because it determines if you need to change medications or if your prescription needs to be altered to best fit your needs. Psychology Today further states that with many psychoactive agents, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, to alleviate unwanted symptoms of mental illnesses, close attention is needed to identify effective treatment methods. Medications taken for mental disorders are often just one component to treatment, however; many people attend psychotherapy, a form of “talk” therapy in which the person can interact with a therapist and discuss their problems and develop tools to work through them while maintain a clear mind from their medication.
Psychiatrists have the highest level of understanding of psychopharmacology. Dr. Jeffrey Deitz, author, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, has noted several ways that you can help your psychiatrist help you:
- Remember that your psychiatrist is human and can make mistakes.
- Make sure that you do the research to know a bit about who your psychiatrist is and what their credentials are.
- Write down what you would like to accomplish before each meeting with your psychiatrist.
- Provide as many details to your psychiatrist as you can, so that they can understand you better.
- Write down the names and dates of medications you have taken previously and what you did and didn’t like about each one. List any over-the-counter medications and vitamins that you take as well.
If you are seeking a treatment center with psychiatrists who can work closely with you to get the medication that will help you work through your problems, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment centers in California. We are state-licensed and aid with after-care, vocational training, and much more. Call us today for a consultation.