Medication also referred to as psychopharmacology, is a powerful tool to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia. Luis J. Olivera-Rodriguez, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist practicing at Lumos Psychiatric Services in Orlando, Florida, has extensive training and experience in prescribing medicine for mental health disorders. Call Lumos Psychiatric Services or request an appointment online today for expert treatment.

What is psychopharmacology?

Psychopharmacology is the practice of prescribing medication to treat mental health illnesses and disorders. Many mental health issues stem from chemical imbalances or reduced neurotransmitter activity in your brain. Psychopharmacology combines neuroscience with pharmacodynamics (what medicine does in the body) and pharmacokinetics (what your body does to medicine) to identify the best medications and the correct doses to treat mental illness.

Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez has extensive training in psychopharmacology. During his medical education, he studied:

  • Protein binding: how your body absorbs and uses a substance
  • Medicine half-life: how long a drug stays in your body
  • Drug interactions: how medications interact with each other
  • Polymorphic genes: genetic variations between people

He uses this knowledge when he prescribes antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotic drugs. He understands how each substance interacts with your body and which medicines are most likely to alleviate your symptoms. Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez also uses pharmacogenetic testing to identify how your genetic make-up affects the way a drug acts in your body.

What is pharmacogenetic testing?

Pharmacogenetic testing is a genetic screening that identifies polymorphic genes and how they may interact with specific medications. Your genes contain the hereditary material passed down from your parents to make you who you are. It determines everything from the color of your eyes to your risk of mental health problems.

Your genes may also affect the way certain medications work in your body. Medical researchers believe that genes are the reason why some medications work well for some people but cause intolerable side effects in others.

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are often challenging to treat, and pharmacogenetic testing gives Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez more information that helps him get your prescription right the first time.

How do I know if medication is the right way to treat my mental health issue?

Like many people, you may feel reluctant to take antidepressants or other medications because you’ve heard stories about the side effects. While some medications may have a negative reputation, in most cases, medicine provides much-needed relief from disruptive mental health symptoms.

Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez has extensive training and experience in psychopharmacology and prescribes medication only when he believes it will improve your health. He performs extensive testing to reduce your risk of unwanted side effects and increase your chances of improved mental health.

If you’re struggling with a mental health condition and want to know more about how psychopharmacology can help you, call Lumos Psychiatric Services today or request a consultation online.