How long should a person take medication for their mental illness before changing the dosage or the type of medication being used?

This is an important clinical question that you will likely hear from your patients and their families. The answer depends on multiple variables, including the type of medication. When beginning a medication, you and your patient should have a working understanding of the target symptoms (and ideally a way to measure them) to help inform future decision making. The response for target symptoms and the experience of side effects should also help drive decision making. Sharing the medication options and getting the input of the patient and their families will not only assist in medication decisions, but can help to foster increased adherence to the treatment plan.

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