Different Types of Psychotropic Medication

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding psychiatric treatment, let alone utilizing medication to function normally in daily life. But there’s no shame in getting help when you need it. Just like those with physical conditions, plenty of people takes psychotropic meds to live fulfilling lives. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell those that take meds apart from those who don’t just out and about. 

Individuals struggling with mental health disorders can expect a treatment plan that incorporates both talk therapy and medication, with each drug having its own specific uses. Let’s take a look at each type of psychotropic medication. 

How Do They Work?

Many mental health disorders happen due to chemical imbalances in the brain, and psychotropic medications merely function to create an equilibrium. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and they help your brain cells communicate information to each other. When these neurotransmitters are overactive or underachieve, this can cause unusual reactions that end up leading to a mental health disorder. 

It’s important to note that psychotropic medications are not a cure, and some individuals will have to take medications for the rest of their lives, combined with talk therapy. Visit BetterHelp to read more about how people can still live enriching lives while taking psychotropic medication. 

Mood Stabilizers

Mood stabilizing medication is primarily used to treat Bipolar disorder and works by helping you manage severe mood swings without making you devoid of all your regular emotions. In other words, it helps those who take it achieve more mental peace and balance. It can cause potentially unpleasant side effects such as upset stomach, dizziness, and weight gain.


Antipsychotics are prescribed by a physician when a patient has experienced some sort of psychotic break and help prevent them in the future. They’re meant to help anyone whose reality is distorted by hallucinations or delusions. Besides disorders characterized by psychosis, like Schizophrenia, it can also be used to treat OCD, PTSD, Depression, and ADHD.


Stimulants help individuals who struggle with executive function feel calmer and better concentrate on essential tasks. A psychiatrist will prescribe stimulants to people living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for the most part. However, they can make some adjustments, and people can expect side effects like decreased appetite and insomnia in the early stages. 

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety meds treat anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks. They generally include beta-blockers that address stress’s physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, or heart palpitations. Other times physicians may prescribe sleep medications or tranquilizers to help treat the anxiety itself as well as any insomnia that’s a result of the anxiety. 


Antidepressants are used to treat depression, as the name states. However, there are many different kinds of antidepressants, and it’s up to your doctor to determine which course of medication is right for you. And sometimes, it may take trying different types to figure out which one suits you the most while having the least amount of side effects. 

The types of antidepressants that exist are: 

  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Bupropion

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