Questions to ask doctors about mental illness meds

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Questions to ask doctors about mental illness meds

When a parent is given a recommendation for a medication, I encourage them to think about it in a couple of different ways. One is, what is the medication working with? What other things are you trying to help your teenager or your child? Is it psychotherapy? Is it an outreach program to strengthen the family's capacity? What are the pieces of the puzzle? Then I ask them to ask the doctor; What are the target symptoms we would be looking for? How would we monitor? How would we know if the medicines were helpful? What are the side-effects? What does the literature say about this medicine? Has this medicine been approved by the FDA for this condition? If doctors use medicines off label, that is allowed and it's legal, but I feel parents should know that. That there hasn't been a study by the Food and Drug Administration to test this medicine for the treatment indication for this child. The doctor is probably trying to use the adult literature to apply it to a childhood condition. That's important for a parent to know. That doesn't mean that it's an experiment, but it does mean that it hasn't been fully vetted by they system that we have in our country. Parents should know that so that they can choose and make a decision about whether to employ medicines for their child or not.

Watch Video: Questions to ask doctors about mental illness meds by Kenneth Duckworth, MD, ...


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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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