Mental Health Monday: The medical side of mental health


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As part of 7 News’ ongoing series on mental health, doctors at Prisma Health outlined the differences between psychology and psychiatry, and the use of prescribing medication as a part of treatment for a mental health condition. However, medications aren’t always the right choice for everyone.

Rural Health Program Director Dr. Asa Briggs and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Casey Berson spoke with 7 News and said in mild to moderate cases of anxiety and depression, psychotherapy alone is sometimes sufficient.

Antidepressant Medications

There are several types of antidepressants which are commonly used to treat depression but can also treat other health conditions such as pain, anxiety and insomnia.

Some of the most popular medications include: Prozac, Celexa, Sertraline (Zoloft), Paxil, and Lexapro.

Some of the most common side effects of antidepressants include: nausea and vomiting, weight gain, diarrhea, sleepiness, and sexual problems. Call your provider right away if you experience the following: thoughts of death or dying, attempts at suicide, new or worsening anxiety, agitated distress, panic attacks, or new or worsening irritability. 

Medical Conditions that mimic depression:

  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes

Anxiety Medications

Medications like Prozac and Zoloft are used to help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Some of the most common side effect include: nausea, blurred vision, headache, confusion, tiredness, and nightmares.

You should call provider right away if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, a rash, hives, seizures, depression, or thoughts of suicide or harming yourself. 

Medical Conditions that mimic anxiety:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism,
  • Respiratory disorders, such as COPD, Asthma
  • Drug misuse or withdrawal

Doctors said it is important to treat the underlying medical issue first. 

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotics are used when individuals have lost contact with reality and may experience delusions or hallucinations. This could be the result of a physical condition, such as drug abuse, or a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or very severe depression. Some of the most common medications include: Haldol, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, and Geodon.

Common side effects of those medications include: weight gain, a low number of white blood cells, low blood pressure, constipation, dry mouth, and restlessness.

Medical Conditions that mimic psychosis include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Where can further help be obtained?

You can find a primary care provider at Prisma or a therapist at Psychology Today.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • CRISIS Text Line 741741
  • Prisma Health – Connect Center 455-8988
  • Community Crisis Response and Intervention – (833) 364-2274
  • Mental Health America: CRISIS line (864) 271-8888; TEXT line 839863

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