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Yellowbrick Blog

Parenting: Where to Start When Psychiatric Medicine Doesn’t Seem to Work

Emerging adults often have a hard time dealing with the demands of daily life as they struggle with serious mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. Some people can manage their mental health matters by participating in counseling or group therapy. Others may find it necessary to overcome their issues by adding prescription psychiatric medication into their routine. It may take months, even years to figure out the right combination of medication, and sometimes psychiatric medicine doesn’t seem to work at all.

Throughout this process, parents may experience a range of emotions. Parents feel hopeful that a new prescription will ease severe mental health conditions. However, disappointed and confused as to why their son or daughter is not showing improvement throughout the course of medicinal treatment, parents may feel as though they have exhausted all of their resources. What steps can parents take when psychiatric medicine doesn’t seem to work?

Understand the signs and symptoms

Parents should start off by paying close attention to the signs and symptoms which their emerging adult may show when psychiatric medicine does not serve its purpose. For example, take note if there are serious, lasting side effects like headaches or weight gain. If your son or daughter acts increasingly agitated or has difficulty sleeping after starting a new course of prescription medication, something may not be right. In some cases when psychiatric medicine is not the right fit, feelings of depression and anxiety increase, along with thoughts of suicide. Parents should consult with their emerging adult and their psychiatrist if any signs or symptoms point toward the wrong direction.

Seek specialized services

When psychiatric medicine does not seem to work, parents should seek specialized services in order to find out why the treatment has not produced positive results. For example, Yellowbrick looks at the genetic makeup of emerging adults who have not been successful in taking prescription psychiatric medication. Through pharmacogenomic testing, clinicians at Yellowbrick can pinpoint whether or not the liver is able to metabolize psychiatric medications. Clinicians identify if there are problems with neurotransmitter receptors for seratonin and dopamine. Pharmacogenomic testing can be a vital step in choosing a psychiatric medication. It allows clinicians to identify medications that will work with the body’s ability to break down medicinal properties and utilize the medicine as it is intended. You can read more about the success of pharmacogenomic testing in Yellowbrick’s recently published Outcome Report on its progress with young and emerging adult mental health.

Incorporate alternative methods

When mental health conditions do not improve from psychiatric medication, it may be appropriate to incorporate alternative methods. In cases tat have not responded to medication or where there are medical reasons why medication is problemmatic, non-invasive therapeutic treatments such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS) may provide relief for emerging adults who suffer severe depression. Other alternative methods of mental health therapy may complement psychiatric medication when added into a normal routine. Experiential approaches like art therapy, yoga, and meditation can help emerging adults make therapeutic progress when combined with prescription medication. Talk with your emerging adult and their psychiatrist about adding additional therapies that may be beneficial throughout the course of therapeutic treatment.

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