There are a range of mental health medications – each of which has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of those who take the medicines.

It can be a difficult decision when you are considering whether or not to take mental health medicines. This is because there are a number of things to consider.

This includes the advantages and disadvantages of taking mental health medications. These areas are looked at in this article.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to taking mental health medication

What are mental health medications?

There are a range of different mental health medications. These various medicines can be used in the treatment of different mental health conditions.

Amongst the most well-known are Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Mood Stabilisers, Benzodiazepines and Anxiolytics/Sedatives.

While these classes of medicines are different, they all have the common goal of trying to improve the mental health of patients. They also largely have similar advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages of mental health medicine?

When mental health medicine works, it can be a literal life-saver! Many people find that medicine can result in a better quality of life.

While there is often a focus on the negative side effects of medicines, there are also many positive effects of mental health medicines. When taking medicine, a patient may become more motivated, have more interest in life and generally feel more positive among other good improvements!

When a mental health medicine is taken as prescribed, it is mostly safe. These medicines have been rigorously tested to ensure their safety. You can read more about how a medicine becomes available at this link.

When compared to other treatments like talking therapy, medication can offer quick results. Many people find that therapy takes several months to work. However, medicines will often begin working after around 2 weeks.

Compared to many other forms of treatment, taking medicine is very easy! In most cases, taking medicine is as easy as just opening a pack of medicine and swallowing a tablet. It is not time-consuming at all!

Mental health medicines rarely interrupt your normal life. While you should always speak to your doctor, you can usually drive as normal, sleep as normal and function as normal while taking a mental health medicine.

What are the disadvantages of mental health medicine?

Side effects from mental health medicines are common. While each individual medicine will have their own potential side effects, common effects include dry mouth, headaches and loss in sex drive. It is important to note that many people will not experience any side effects, and for those that do, they are often short-term.

Mental health medicines aren’t a quick fix. With the exception of Benzodiazepines, mental health medicines typically take a minimum of 2 weeks to start working. They often take up to 4-6 weeks for their full effect to be felt. Unfortunately, they do not provide an immediate boost.

While mental health medicines can treat the symptoms of mental illness, they are unable to tackle underlying causes. For many people, this won’t be an issue. However, for anyone with more deep-seated issues or past trauma, medicine will only have a limited impact. Talking therapy is often useful in this case.

Further to the above, talking therapy is often considered to be more effective than mental health medicines. As discussed, this is because talking therapy tackles the underlying causes behind mental health conditions. It also offers the patient a chance to focus on themselves.

Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with mental health medicines. Some people will find it uncomfortable to tell others, including employers and loved ones, that they take some form of psychiatric medicine.

Mental health medicines usually cost money. For those living in England, there is a prescription charge for medicine – you can read more about prescriptions here. Although please note that for those that meet certain eligibility criteria and for those in Scotland and Wales, it is free.


It is important to remember that every single person has their own unique experience with mental health medications. Just because one works for one person, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for everyone else.

But having knowledge of some of the advantages and disadvantages of these medicines is helpful, and can help you to make informed decisions about this topic if ever needed.

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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.