Pharmacologic therapy (prescription drug treatment) is effective for many emotional or mental disorders. For example, people with ADHD or ADD can be given amphetamines or amphetamine-like drugs. These drugs have a paradoxical effect that allows people to tune out irrelevant stimuli and focus more effectively. Tricyclic antidepressants may also be useful in treating people with this disorder.
Antipsychotic (or neuroleptic) medications prescribed for people with schizophrenia act on the central nervous system to quiet the emotions. They have depressive effects when combined with other medications or with alcohol, and these troublesome side effects may discourage the patient's compliance with the prescribed medication regimen. Compliance is essential, because about 10 percent of people with schizophrenia eventually commit suicide.
Depressive disorders are often treated with antidepressant medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Antidepressants work by changing the way the brain's neurotransmitters behave. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that stimulate nerve impulses. Sometimes additional kinds of treatment, such as electroconvulsive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are used. It is important that you let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications or over-the-counter supplements when they prescribe an antidepressant because certain classes of medication may interact unfavorably with other medications or herbal supplements.
Anxiety disorders can be treated effectively with antidepressants, benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications), cognitive-behavioral therapy, or a combination of medications and therapy. Antidepressants like paroxetine are effective at treating anxiety with fewer side effects than benzodiazepines. Short-acting benzodiazepines like alprazolam should be used with great caution because they are well-known to cause rebound anxiety. Talk to your doctor about what options are best and safest for you. Benzodiazepines having addictive properties that can be avoided by prudent prescribing and prescribing in concert with therapy.
Nearly all emotional disorders should also be treated with some type of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a general term referring to treating mental illnesses by talking (or otherwise engaging) with a mental health care provider. There are many different types of psychotherapy, including psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior therapy, group psychotherapy, and art therapy, among others.
Family members and other loved ones should participate in the patient's treatment if possible. Major mental illness is easier to curb earlier in its progression. Don't delay seeking care for an emotional difficulty or a suspected mental illness. Speak with your doctor and decide what's right for you.