Psychopharmacology mystery

  1. I am a psych nurse practitioner coming to the end of my training. I have been a nurse for decades but not in psych so I am finding myself feeling rather lost in this new field. Specifically the medications. I am spending a lot of time studying them but it is so frustrating when I read that you give this med for this disorder, but then this other one might work or maybe this totally different classification would be just as good. Or maybe you can combine them. And then there is the side effects. The lists are endless. I know that there are specific aspects of each drug that are the important thing about that drug - such as sexual problems, weight gain and so forth. But when I try to pin it down, it seems that all of them or most of them do this. Is there an source that could bring some clarity to this mess.
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    About healer_energy

    Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 51


  3. by   Melina
    Psychopharmacology is a confusing subject, surely. It doesn't help that we don't really understand why many of these drugs work, or even the brain chemistry behind the disorders themselves. There are some great web resources out there, though. There are some great guidelines and algorithms @ Untitled Document. I'm a little biased, because our committee developed the guidelines, but they are used by providers throughout Colorado, and I think they are pretty clear and concise. There are also some great (and free!) CE articles on Nurses - Medscape

    Welcome to the world of psych nursing! Will you be prescribing? If you are, be sure to take advantage of They have a PDA version of the PDR they offer free for prescibers. Make sure you have a good MD to mentor you, and don't freak, you'll figure things out. Our MDs have to look things up all the time. Feel free to PM me if you have questions about anything specific. I'm still in school, but I have volunteered with psych populations for a decade.

  4. by   traumaRUs
    Hi healer energy - glad you are almost done. I think a lot of medicine is kinda know what you want to do but then have to adjust to individual needs.
  5. by   healer_energy
    Thank for your reply! We had some TMAP algorithms given to us at school and I dug them up. Thanks for the great websit with them all!

    However while I was searching on line for them I came upon this website

    Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime - Health Supreme

    which seemed to cast aspersions on the sources for the info. Drug companies with obvious agendas. I was very discouraged and I am delighted to make contact with someone close to the work. I would also love to PM you but I am not sure how to.

    I also found a great psychopharm book. I am sure you are familiar with Steven Stahl. He put out a Prescriber's Guide which is a bit smaller than a regular size book, has reasonably large print, clear and COLORED sections, LITTLE CARTOONS, a section for each drug called the Art of Prescribing and another called Pearls of Wisdom. And it is listed alphabetically. Also an appendix listing the drugs by classes. Anyway, I ordered it today. You can see what is important to me - yep, no squinting,cartoons and smaller books.

  6. by   Melina
    That was an interesting link, but I think the author has an agenda of his own. It's true that the pharma companies have an interest in what drugs are prescribed, and that's important to keep in mind. From what I could glean from a cursory glance at his website, this man doesn't believe in psychotropic treatment at all. I know too many people that would be in jail, or worse, without medical intervention for their psych issues. The appropriate use of medication helps people stay stable enough to benefit from therapy and other interventions. Don't give up yet!

  7. by   healer_energy
    Thanks again for the TMAP link. I shared your comments and the site with my preceptor and she agrees with them so I my confidence is restored and I have something to use as a basic start. What I am looking for now is some way of knowing how they stack up as far a side effects. Say someone heavy comes in and you have a choice of drugs for their psychological problem but you want to choose the one with the least weight gaining aspects. Or it might be any other side effect such as activation, sexual difficulty etc.

    PS I did receive your private e-mail address and will use it if I think it is appropriate. Thanks.