If you are rooting for better health, there is one thing you can do to help yourself: understand your role as a patient so that you can work together with your Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) to find the right medication for you.
If you are an active participant in your treatment (PLS LINK to: PAT0077 – How can I be an effective participant in making decisions concerning my medication?), you will exert effort to understand the basic things and information about your condition and your medications. Understanding these things means:
- You will be in a better position to discuss and participate in matters pertaining to your health care decisions, including the selection of your medications – what it is and why it is being selected.
- You have read about your medication from the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) so you would know its components, how best to store it, what it can interact with (food or other medications), its contraindications, its generic name and brand names, etc. If you are confined in a hospital, you can ask your doctor for a copy.
- You would know the importance of medication management (PLS LINK to: PAT000 – What is med management?), so you will adhere to your prescription – the dose and time to take the medication.
- You would monitor and note the possible side effects and know what to do (PLS LINK to: PAT0064 – What must I do when I experience side effects from my psychotropic medicines?) when they happen.
- You will not just abruptly stop (PAT0048 – Can I stop taking my psychotropic medications when I feel better?) taking the medicine knowing it could cause a relapse, withdrawal symptoms and/or even worsen the original symptoms you experienced.
Tell Your Psychiatrist:
Your psychiatrist will decide on your medication (PLS LINK to: PAT0084 – How would my psychiatrist decide which antidepressant to prescribe?) based on the information that you will tell them. So, you have the responsibility to provide them with the information they need to make informed deductions and decisions, and to deliver the best possible care. The quest for the right psychotropic medicine may take a long process if you will withhold certain vital information or be not completely honest with them. What are some of the most critical information you need to tell your psychiatrist?
- Are you taking other medication – supplements, non-prescription or OTC medications, prescription medicines, etc.? Be honest, if you are; and be very precise.
- Are you abusing or dependent on any substance?
- Do you have other health issues or conditions?
- Are you pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding a child?
- Have you been on a psychiatric medication before? If yes, tell the psychiatrist about your medical history – what medications were prescribed to you, your responses, and the side effects, if you had any.
Your Other Responsibilities:
- Choose your psychiatrist or PMHNP (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) and treat them with respect. This means you will keep your appointments and inform you’re the administrative staff in advance if you are cancelling an appointment.
- Ask questions to be able to understand your condition, medication, and to be able to follow the medication/treatment plan. It is also your responsibility to ask questions when you need information.
- Inform your Psychiatrist or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner if you are planning to stop taking your medications and why, or if you are considering taking other medications or treatment.
- Inform your prescriber of your responses or experiences about a prescribed medication that would be relevant in assessing your condition.
- Tell your prescriber your concerns with paying the fees, buying the medication or your insurance coverage.
- Keep an updated and accurate history of your own medical information. This can be relevant when you must consult another professional.
- Responsibly follow and adhere to the treatment plan, which must be agreed upon between you and your Psychiatrist or PMHNP.
- Support your treatment with a healthy lifestyle and habits.
The road towards wellness can be a long one if you will not support your treatment. You can better support your treatment if you are aware of your role as a patient. This means knowing not only your rights as a patient, but your responsibilities as well. Between being a responsible patient and having good psychiatric care from Living Well Psychiatry at Raeford Road in Fayetteville, NC, you stand to have a better chance of looking forward to better, happier days.
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