The Art Of Psychopharmacology

Prescribing Psychiatric Medications Wisely

Our psychiatric patients rely on us for first-hand knowledge on medications that can treat their mental illness. But without consistently studying the different mechanisms of action, side effect profiles and indications of these powerful psychotropics, we are doing our patients a disservice.

Pharmacology makes up a large component of the psychiatrist’s toolkit; perhaps around 40%. The other 60% is the human being behind the psychiatric mask: the personality of the psychiatrist, their intentions, passion and the love and care for their patients.

You can have the best intentions in the world, but without a strong grip on psychotropic medications, you will not be able to effectively treat your patients. Because the treatments in psychiatry are very subjective, and what works for one patient might not for another, it becomes very important to remain flexible in your care and management.

Are you able to discern whether to add a mood stabilizer or augment an existing antipsychotic with a second antipsychotic? You must be able to come up with smart and effective reasons as to why you are choosing one medication over the other. Medications are costly, cause side effects and contribute to polypharmacy.

You might not always be on the same page with a psychiatric patient in regards to agreeing on a particular medication, but you should always provide informed consent and be able to explain your reasoning for the addition of a new medication. The patients rely on your expertise.

It’s called an art because nothing is set in stone. Even though the science says one thing, the individual human being might react differently clinically. Therefore, applying the science while mastering the art of psychopharmacology will increase your chances of developing a stronger therapeutic alliance with your patients.

Your patients rely on you to deliver them from their mental illness. And you rely on three factors: science, art and love!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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