The Do’s and Don’ts Of Anxiety & Depression Medication
“Psychiatry is a highly developed, specialised science, you cannot give these drugs randomly and see what works.”
“Medication is a proper science, psychiatry is a highly developed, specialised science - you cannot take these drugs randomly at will and see what works.”Dr Ruksheda Syeda, psychiatrist
The recent discussion in the media has focussed on the anxiety and depression medication that Sushant Singh Rajput was allegedly told to take by his sister.
Now, medication like this must only be taken if prescribed by a psychiatrist, and FIT talks to Dr Ruksheda Syeda to break down what these medicines do and what harm they can do if taken without supervision.
“First”, says Dr Syeda, “We want everyone to understand that the brain is an organ just like any other one. It has a lot of functions, and one of them is the mind - where you are thinking, feeling etc. Now if there is a problem in the functioning of the brain you are also going to get mind symptoms - just like you will get physical symptoms.”
She adds that these symptoms will tell doctors what functioning of the brain is currently disordered, “based on this we come to a diagnosis and give you medication.”
“These are all schedule H drugs, which means you can get them only with a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.”Dr Ruksheda Syeda, psychiatrist
So can any doctor prescribe psychiatry medication for me?
No, says Dr Syeda, “What I mean by a licensed doctor is that if you are a Homeopathic doctor you cannot prescribe allopathic drugs and vice versa. Certain doctors are licensed to write certain medications.”
She adds that while general physicians with an MBBS degree can prescribe medications, “because it is so specialized, most MBBS doctors aren't trained in it to fully understand and prescribe.”
“I have done my MBBS too, but I always say if I offer you free cardiac medications please do not take them as I am not a cardiologist. Each field has its own trained doctors and for psychiatric issues its best to go to a psychiatrist.”Dr Ruksheda Syeda, psychiatrist
Under certain stressful circumstances, yes one can go get an emergency prescription from a GP, but they should always follow up with a psychiatrist.
Explaining Psychiatric Medications
“These medications are composed of certain chemicals and molecules that function in specific manner. If someone has depression or presents with the symptoms I may give them one type of depression medication suited to their case. I may give them 2-3, depending on their condition, maybe one type doesn’t suit them.Dr Ruksheda Syeda, psychiatrist
Basically, it’s not one-size-fits-all. “I need to understand your symptoms, which part of the brain might be malfunctioning, what are the neurotransmitters that might be involved. Even in depression, there are different symptoms, some will come with more sadness, some with more functional impairment. So depending on these I prescribe.”
She adds the while doctors also need to take care to explain the issues to their patient and refer them to a specialised doctor, it is also up to the patient to be more proactive about their health. As for loved ones thinking they are helping by providing medication by illegal means, she says, “It’s sort of like gaslighting and not taking the person’s condition seriously enough to take them to a doctor.”
What about the medications - Librium, Nexito and Lonazep - what do they really do?
Librium is the trade name for the medicine Chlordiazepoxide, which is used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal writes WebMD.
It belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which act on the brain and nerves to create a calming effect and works by enhancing the effect of the chemical Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is naturally present in our bodies.
Side effects of Librium include dizziness, nausea, constipation and blurred visions though most people do not get serious side effects like fainting, stomach pain or persistent symptoms. If you do, it's best to visit your prescribing psychiatrist immediately.
According to 1mg, Nexito is often used to treat mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and panic disorder.
It is a common anti-depressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which helps people by relieving stress and increasing the levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain which can lift off the depression.
Lonazep helps to treat seizures, panic and anxiety disorders reports 1mg,
Dr Syeda says that these 3 medications all have different uses, and it is important for a doctor to assess if they can be taken together for a particular patient, at what dose, when to increase the dose, and more technicalities. “Nexito is not always going to suit everyone, so it’s important for a doctor to advise you, knowing your case history.”
She adds that even regular over-the-counter medication is not always safe all the time for everyone, and so for schedule H drugs, supervision and the correct medication for the symptom is a must.
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