It has been found that many mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are most likely to improve with a combination of both psychotherapy and psychiatric medication.
These medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications, can be prescribed by any medical doctor or nurse practitioner. However, psychiatrists are medical doctors who are specially trained in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Psychiatrists may also be trained to do psychotherapy.
Your doctor or nurse practitioner will work with you to find the best medication for your condition and your particular metabolism. Often, they may do genetic testing to help determine which medication might work best for you, with the fewest side effects.
Medications may be needed over the long term, even over a lifetime, for certain mental illnesses. In other cases, they are a short term solution for a difficult period of time in your life.
In some cases, medication will take effect almost immediately and may be discontinued when no longer needed. In other cases, it may take weeks before the full therapeutic effect can be felt. Often, you will be advised not to stop your medications suddenly but rather to wean off of them gradually, according to a schedule your doctor or nurse practitioner recommends.