Reasons Your Psychiatric Medication Isn’t Working

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This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp

Psychiatric medication has brought relief to millions of people living with mental health conditions. However, it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to find the best fit. Sometimes people who try psychiatric medication find that their symptoms have not eased at all. Though this can be frustrating, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a reason for concern. This is a normal problem and can be easily fixed with more discussions with your mental health professional.

There are a couple of reasons why your medication may not be working. Chances are, your physician or psychiatrist has seen these issues and knows how to address or fix the problem. Below are the most common reasons why your psychiatric medication isn’t working.

Incorrect Diagnosis

The most common reason why a particular medication may not work is that you were diagnosed with the incorrect condition. You may be confused about how this can happen, but it does occur quite often. Many mental health conditions have overlapping symptoms, so it is not always obvious what the condition is. In some cases, it can take a therapist or psychiatrist months or years to accurately figure out which condition you live with.

Furthermore, some conditions are actually symptoms of others. For example, some people experience depression as a condition, but depression is also a symptom of many other mental illnesses. For example, many people who live with bipolar disorder may be diagnosed with depression at first because they don’t discuss or understand their manic episodes very well. Since the depression episodes are more painful, they may focus on them more. Therefore, their mental health professional will assume that they have depression, not bipolar disorder. Antidepressants don’t always work for people with bipolar disorder, which can cause distress or confusion.

Wrong Dosage

Sometimes, you may just need a stronger dosage of your medication. This doesn’t mean your condition is severe or that there is something wrong with you. Factors such as genetics, gender, and weight play a huge role in how medication interacts with your body and, therefore, will determine what dosage you need.

Therefore, if your medication is not working, your psychiatrist may recommend a stronger dosage. Please discuss if you are experiencing any side effects or any changes since starting medication before agreeing to a stronger dosage.

Your Tolerance Has Increased

If you have been taking medication for a long time but have recently found that your symptoms have returned, then it is possible that your body has increased its tolerance to that medication. If this is the case, then you will need to discuss these changes with your psychiatrist or physician. Depending on your situation, they may increase your dosage to treat your symptoms or switch you to a new medication that can be just as effective.

Substance Use

Many people who have mental health conditions also experience substance use. These substances can alter the brain and may block or prevent certain medications from working. Therefore, it is essential to be honest with your psychiatrist about any substance usage so that they can find a better treatment option for you.

Noncompliance/Not Taking Medication Enough

Some people refuse to take their medication or just don’t take it enough. If you only take your medication a few times each week but are required to take it every day, then you aren’t going to receive all the benefits from it.

In order to receive your treatment and experience the most benefits, you must take your medication as it is prescribed to you. If you cannot do this for any reason, you should discuss the issue with your psychiatrist to find other treatment options.

Final Thoughts

Medication is a crucial treatment option for many people with mental health conditions. However, medication doesn’t always work as intended or hoped for. The reasons in this article are the most common reasons why psychiatric medication doesn’t work for some patients, so hopefully, this gives you an idea of what is going on.

However, no article can accurately diagnose the problem. If you aren’t seeing any benefits from your medication or are experiencing side effects, please talk with your healthcare professional immediately to resolve the issue. For further general reading on psychiatric medication, you can find more information here.

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