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Medication Management

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Updated October 28, 2009

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Definition:

Medication management is a very important step in the treatment of some phobias. In most states, only medical doctors are permitted to prescribe medications, although this is slowly changing -- clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants can prescribe under the direct supervision of a physician. Although psychiatrists may prescribe medications and perform therapy, their services are often quite expensive. Therefore, many people with phobias see a psychiatrist or other medical doctor for medication management and a separate therapist for counseling.

Medication management appointments are usually brief. The doctor will ask questions regarding side effects and your opinion of how the medication is working for you, and perhaps discuss how the rest of your treatment is going. You might need to undergo regular blood tests, as certain medications must be carefully monitored.

The level of involvement that your psychiatrist or other doctor has in your treatment depends largely on circumstances. If you visit a mental health center, your psychiatrist is probably a regular part of your treatment team. If you separately see a private psychiatrist and a private therapist, then information will be shared only at your request. In general, many people find that it is best for all of their regular practitioners to work together as a team.

Examples:
John's therapist felt that he would benefit from anti-anxiety medications for his phobias. Since she was not authorized to prescribe medications, she referred him to a psychiatrist for medication management.
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