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A psychiatric drug, also called psychotropic, is a drug that affects the chemical makeup of the brain and nervous system. Different psychiatric medications work on different chemicals in the brain in different ways, depending on the drug class or specific drug. Some examples of psychiatric drugs include antidepressants (SSRIs, etc), anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.
There are actually five groups of psychotropic drugs (medications used for mental health conditions). The five most commonly used types of psychotropic medications for mental health conditions include:
The most common medications used for psychiatric disorders include the medication class of SSRIs (serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors).
Psychiatrists may prescribe a variety of psychiatric medications depending on their patient’s specific mental health condition, medication tolerance, and symptoms. Psychiatrists may also prescribe several drugs if one isn’t working to cover all symptoms. Many people have more than one mental health condition as well that have varying symptoms to manage. Licensed psychiatrists can prescribe any medication indicated to help manage or reduce mental health condition symptoms.
Psychiatric drugs for mental health conditions are generally safe and effective when prescribed by a licensed practitioner and used as prescribed. Many psychiatric medications may have some sort of side effect(s) that reduce with time as your body adjusts to them. Psychiatric drugs’ safety and effectiveness is also reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Your licensed psychiatric prescriber will be the best person to guide you on the safety of certain psychiatric drugs for your specific situation and health, and will inform you of any potential adverse effects or interactions with other medications.
Drugs that are used to regulate mood include Lithium, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants. There are several different drugs in both the antipsychotic and anticonvulsant categories that help regulate mood. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder often take mood regulating medications to avoid highs and lows typical to that condition.
Getting the right medication to help with racing thoughts depends on what mental health condition may be causing those racing thoughts and any other concerns your psychiatrist may have. Racing thoughts can be a symptom in several mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, manic depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For racing thoughts caused by anxiety or depression, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants. It depends on the individual and their needs.