Side effects of psychiatric medicines

I am often surprised by blogposts where someone declares that he will never see a psychiatrist. I wonder what else can be done for illnesses that are a result of neural circuits that don’t work, because connections between some nerve cells are lost and need to be reestablished. This is how medicines work. And they DO work.

Psychiatry is about biology.

Psychiatry is mainly about behaviour disturbances caused by biology. Psychological factors are relevant only where, for example, too many stressful experiences can impact ‘risk genes’ and cause mental illness. Or being stressed for a long time can prevent brain cells from growing. Things like that.

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The brain is an organ. The ‘mind’ is a process. This process happens because cells in the brain connect environmental cues, thoughts and feelings, and generate actions. Mental illnesses are a result of this process being interrupted at different points.

Going by what I’ve come across on the net, most people seem upset by side effects of psychiatric medicines. If the rule ‘start low and go slow’ is followed there should be practically no side effects. At least, no more than what you get when you take an antihistaminic for a cold.

Medicines are not magic potions. They are not going to make your longstanding problems disappear overnight. They need to reach a certain level in the body before they show the effects you want to see. This can take a few days. If you start with a high dose, or raise the dose too fast, there will certainly be side effects.

Starting low introduces the medicine to your body and lets you know what sort of side effects you can expect. For example, if you are likely to react with stomach acidity, you’ll get a mild attack with a small dose, and something can be done about it.

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One thought on “Side effects of psychiatric medicines

  1. Good one doctor. It would be nice if you can give few examples from your experience to substantiate your statement ‘start low and go slow’

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