Written by Dr. Jonathan Williams, BSN RN, CCRN, PMHNP-BC, DNP;
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, NorthLakes Community Clinic- Ashland Downtown Clinic and Iron River Clinics
NorthLakes Community Clinic (Published 2017)
Psychiatrists or psychiatric practitioners provide psychiatric medication management and assessment. But what does that really mean? That can sound like a scary, daunting thing especially if you have not taken any psychiatric medications before, had bad experiences in the past with medications/treatment, or if you are not sure if medications are the best option for your symptoms. There can be a lot of unknowns! But understanding how a psychiatric practitioner can help you, learning what the phrase “medication management” means and knowing what to expect with your psychiatric assessment visit may reduce any concerns. Understanding this can be one of the most important steps to help get treatment for mental health symptoms.
Our mental well-being is directly connected with our overall physical health. Experiences like stress or trauma can leave us anxious, overwhelmed and hopeless. Untreated, these feelings can lead to major psychological and physical illnesses or to behaviors that can become addictive and destructive. Just as it’s important to have your physical body checked by your primary care provider, it’s just as important to have your mental health checked as well. A psychiatric practitioner will perform an initial checkup similar to what a primary care provider might do. This checkup, called an assessment, includes an overview of your symptoms and a determination of whether or not medication is a good option in the treatment of your mental health. Where our primary care colleagues address more physical aspects of treatment, we utilize discussion to get to the root of your mental health care needs.
Based on this assessment, a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is designed with the patient at the center. If it’s in the patient’s best interests, medications will be discussed and education will be provided on the actions, uses, and side effects of the suggested medication options. When the patient agrees on a medication and treatment option, the medication is prescribed for a trial period to observe the effectiveness. This is the “medication management,” aspect of psychiatric care. We monitor the effectiveness of medication over a course of time to determine if the treatment meets the patient’s goals. Due to how psychiatric medications react differently within a patient’s brain chemistry, the effectiveness of the medications may vary from person to person. Every individual is unique. Medications are often utilized at the same time as other forms of treatment such as counseling, life management skills, and/or behavioral therapies. Through careful monitoring and on-going discussion we find the right medication and treatment plan to improve the patient’s mental health.
The use of prescription medications introduces potential risks and side effects, as with any medication. These are all discussed in detail, and weighed against the benefits of the medications, with each patient. Not all patients and not all psychiatric problems need medicines, but there are certainly instances where prescription medicines are the best treatment available to relieve a patient’s suffering. Medicines are commonly an important and effective part of the treatment of many mental illnesses to include depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic, sleep problems, attention deficit disorder and several other disorders.
If you are experiencing mental health issues, and would like to discuss whether medication is a good option for you, please call our clinic at 888-834-4551. Or, please refer to our website for additional information.
NorthLakes provides care to those with commercial insurance such as Medica, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many others, those with government insurance (Medicaid and Medicare) and those without insurance. We also provide a Sliding Fee Scale, a federal program that enables us to discount health care services rendered at our locations. The Sliding Fee Scale Program is available to all patients who qualify based on income level, regardless of insurance status.
NorthLakes Community Clinic has clinic locations in Ashland, Balsam Lake, Hayward, Iron River, Minong, Turtle Lake, and Washburn. NLCC locations offer: medical, dental, behavioral health counseling, Psychiatric Medication Management, Recovery Services (substance abuse/AODA counseling/Medication Assisted Treatment), Chiropractic, Pediatric Speech Therapy, Pediatric Occupational Therapy, and prescriptions for patients. Clinics are open Monday through Friday. For more information visit http://northlakesclinic.org. NLCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.