After diagnosis, your doctor may offer you medications to help alleviate some of the symptoms of your illness. Everyone is different, and some people have different symptoms – or different severity of symptoms – and may therefore need different medication.
You might feel that you do not want to take medication, or that the medication offered is not right for you. While medication can definitely be helpful, you do have choices when it comes to managing your medication. Find out more about that here.
There are many medications in the treatment of mental health, it can be hard to understand what each one does and which ones are best for you. We want to help you to understand what these medications do, and the possible benefits and side-effects. We talk below about the three main types of medication you may be offered – you may also be offered anti-anxiety medication which can help to alleviate panic attacks, severe anxiety or nightmares/night terrors.
How does my doctor decide what medications to give me?
Because the symptoms of BPD vary among patients, the doctor will use several factors to determine what will work best for you. During the diagnosis process, the doctor will have already assessed your health history, general health and wellbeing, and any conditions you already have, as well as any medication you currently take.
Alongside this information, the doctor will consult with the guidance offered to all medical professionals from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which guides medical professionals in the treatment and medication of all known medical conditions.
What medications might the doctor prescribe?
The doctor may prescribe a combination of medications, alongside talking therapies or counselling. These may include:
These medications are used to treat depression, and the depressive symptoms of other conditions including mood disorders. There are several different types of antidepressants, and you may need to try different ones before you find one that works for you.
It can take a few weeks for antidepressants to take effect, so its important to keep taking them, and there can be withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly, so its important to speak with your GP if they are not working for you.
Antidepressants work by increasing levels of chemicals in your brain to help alleviate depressive symptoms and improve your mood.
Antipsychotics are used to treat psychosis. Psychosis is where you hear or see things that aren’t there (hallucinations), or have beliefs that are not real (delusions or paranoia). These medications can help control the symptoms, and help you be more in control of your symptoms – especially if you find the symptoms distressing. Your doctor may also use antipsychotics to help treat your mania.
Many people with BPD report extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). Sometimes there can be a rapid switch from mania to depression, and vice versa, or a switch over hours or even days. Mood stabilisers help to balance out these extreme moods, and are often used alongside antidepressants and/or antipsychotics.