An assumption is made that you are very familiar with psychopathology and DSM diagnostic criteria, however there will be supplemental diagnostic information presented in this course as it applies to treatment decision making.More recent epidemiological studies and new findings in the neurosciences have influenced changes in some diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 which will be addressed in this course.However, some of the medication initially escapes this process, makes its way through the liver and into circulation and thus is allowed to begin accumulating in the blood stream.How rapidly the liver metabolizes drugs depends on a number of factors.The effect is that they can take a “typical” starting dose of a medication, and on its trip through the liver, only small amounts are transformed and excreted.The result is often very high blood levels of the medication and severe side effects or toxicity.
The primary focus of this course is to provide a current overview of psychopharmacologic treatment guidelines.A second factor determining blood levels of medications is the functioning of the kidney.Sometimes genetic factors play a role here too, but more often problems can occur due to kidney disease.They take certain drugs and then eliminate them very quickly.The result is that even though they may be taking what seems like an adequate dose of the medication, little actually gets into the blood stream.It is often hard to know ahead of time if this will happen with any one given individual.Thus, if your patient has had an experience of encountering very intense side effects with other medications in the past, one may anticipate that they may be a hypo-metabolizer, and thus initial dosing should be low and increased dosing should be done gradually.All psychotherapists must be familiar with psychopharmacology for three reasons: I hope that you will find this course to be helpful in your clinical practice.Also, please see the Appendix, which offers a detailed printable guide to psychiatric medications (doses, side effects, required lab tests, etc.); this reference may be useful to share with clients.A review of case law reveals that there are a number of cases in which non-physician health care professionals have been accused of practicing medicine without a license because they gave patients information regarding their medications and medical treatment. However, in every case (with one exception addressed below) those who provided information regarding medicines and medication treatment and were accused of practicing medicine without a license were found to be not guilty.Obviously, it is important for all therapists to practice within their scope of practice, to do whatever is in the best interests of our patients and to be on solid ethical ground. In half of the cases, further, the judge said that not to provide information to patients may have been acting in a professionally incompetent manner. First and foremost is the right granted by the first amendment (i.e. Secondly, the following are deemed appropriate to share with patients, if and only if the therapist has training and is knowledgeable regarding the facts of medication treatments: Due to the impact of managed care, many patients are receiving prescriptions for psychotropic medications from primary care physicians who have very limited time to spend with the patients both initially (when the diagnosis is made and treatment is initiated) and in follow-up.