Mar 23rd 2016

Medicating for Mental Health: Judicious Use of Psychiatric Drugs (edX)

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Psychiatric medications are widely prescribed to treat psychological disorders. Learn how to effectively use these drugs to improve their ability to help.

It is highly likely that you, a member of your family, or a close friend will face the decision of whether to use a medication to treat a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. Do you have the skills and knowledge to participate in the decision to use a drug as therapy?

This course prepares you to be an effective collaborator with your physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist when deciding if a medication is appropriate treatment. The course introduces fundamental principles for the use of drugs as therapy. It encourages students to have realistic goals regarding the strengths and limitations of psychiatric medications. It provides basic understanding of how a drug acts upon the brain to improve behavioral symptoms. You will learn how new drugs are developed to become viable options for treatment, and how they are ultimately approved for being prescribed. Additionally, this course provides perspective on the proper use of psychiatric medication as a part of a multifactor treatment program.

Altogether, you will acquire a working knowledge to gain confidence that a psychiatric medication is being used wisely to give the best advantage for a successful improvement of symptoms while minimizing risk of side effects.

What you'll learn:

- Identify factors important for judicious use of a psychiatric medication.

- Develop realistic expectations for a medication to improve symptoms of a diagnosed disorder.

- Understand how drugs are developed and evaluated by regulatory agencies (such as the Food and Drug Administration).

- Understand how psychiatric drugs affect the brain.

- Appreciate that a drug is likely most effective when used as part of a treatment program that includes psychotherapy, behavior therapy, or counseling.