Sometimes it may be helpful for people with mental health issues to take psychotropic medication, such as an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. The Counseling Center staff does not prescribe medication for students but we work closely with the SUNY Oneonta Student Health Center medical professionals who are trained to evaluate, prescribe, and monitor medication treatments for mental health conditions.
Medication has been shown to be extremely effective in combination with counseling in the treatment of many mental health issues. After careful assessment, a counselor might suggest or recommend an evaluation for medication depending on the student's symptoms and history.
Generally, a counselor may recommend an evaluation when a person's mental health issue is:
- Interfering with regular eating or sleeping
- Interfering with the ability to function, study, work, etc
- Not improving
- More intense or severe
Following a collaborative assessment with you, your counselor might make a recommendation for the medication evaluation. In making a recommendation, your counselor will discuss questions and concerns you may have as well as your attitude towards medication. You have a choice about whether to follow a recommendation to be evaluated and your counselor will respect your choice, though there are some situations where counselors can make strong recommendations based on what is in the best interests of the student.
Students often have many questions about psychotropic medications. Read the National Institute of Mental Health's Brochure on Medication.
Your counselor and medical provider can also answer any questions you may have. However, your counselor may defer some questions to the medical provider's expertise with medications. If you decide to try medication, it is important to be an informed and active partner in your treatment. Ask questions, give honest and detailed feedback about your experiences and symptoms, and voice your opinions and concerns to your providers.
It is very important that you only take medication that has been prescribed for you by a medical provider. It is also important to take medications as directed and not to take yourself off medication or change the dosage without consulting your medical provider.
Most importantly, it is important to remember that taking medication does not mean that you are weak, haven't tried hard enough, or are doing anything wrong. Many mental health disorders have genetic and biological contributing factors. If you had a thyroid or diabetic condition, you would likely view medication as a necessary aid in improving your health. Likewise, medication for mental health symptoms can be of benefit and does not detract from who you are or your ability to draw on your personal, psychological and behavioral resources.