U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

If you are interested in scheduling a psychiatric evaluation, you must first make an Initial Consultation (IC) appointment with a CAPS counselor. If after the IC, you are referred for brief treatment at CAPS and  meet for your First Counseling Appointment, your counselor will assess your situation and if a medication evaluation is therapeutically appropriate and/or recommended, the counselor will assist you in making an appointment with one of the members of our Psychiatry team.

However, If you need a refill only on a current prescription and/or do not desire or need therapeutic support, referrals to University Health Service or community psychiatrists will be provided for ongoing care. Referral information can be obtained by calling CAPS and requesting to speak to the Counselor on Duty.

The first appointment for a medication evaluation is scheduled for 90 minutes.  During this time, the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner will ask you questions about your general health as well as your emotional health. Be prepared to discuss any prescription medications, over the counter medications or herbal preparations you are taking. You will also be asked about medical conditions, family medical history and known medication allergies. It will also be important to communicate any history of seizures, head injuries or eating disorders, alcohol or substance use as these conditions can influence decisions about medication options.

If, at the end of the evaluation, it appears medication would be an appropriate treatment option in conjunction with therapeutic support, the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner will make recommendations about specific medications, discuss possible side effects, provide instructions for taking the medication and answer any questions or concerns you might have. Then, a return appointment will be scheduled to discuss how well the medication is working and if any modifications are needed.  

The psychiatric team offers 8-10 first appointments per week for medication evaluations. Sometimes, even with the number of first appointments that are offered, the wait for a scheduled appointment can stretch longer than what we want.  When this happens, please talk with your counselor about other options that might be available.

You will continue to be monitored by the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner as long as you are taking the medication, enrolled at U of M and actively participating in counseling at CAPS.

What if I just need medication?

To participate in a medication evaluation with a member of our psychiatric team, you must be actively involved with clinical treatment with a counselor at CAPS.  Your counselor will then refer you to one of our psychiatric staff for an appointment. It is CAPS policy that clients who see one of our psychiatric staff for medication must also participate in therapy. 

Will I become a different person if I take medication?

No. Most people who take medications are pleased to feel like themselves again and experience relief when symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD etc. are significantly reduced.

Is it a sign of weakness to take medication?

No. As with any serious illness, dealing with mental health difficulties takes great personal strength. Nonetheless, you may be exposed to negative attitudes about psychiatric medications, which vary among individuals and cultures.
Many students have found it helpful to take the perspective that treating mental health issues with medication is no different than taking medication for medical conditions like allergies, asthma, infections or diabetes.

Will I become addicted to anti-depressant medication?

No, these medications are not addictive.

How long will I need to take medication?

Once you are feeling better, the general medical recommendation is to continue taking the medication for a minimum of 9 to 12 months. This is because there is a high probability that symptoms will return if the medication is stopped sooner. All medications should be monitored by a health care provider and adjusted or stopped only under their direction.

How does the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner decide what medication to prescribe for me?

Medication decisions are made based on several criteria, including your particular difficulties, other medications you are taking, any medical problems you may have and your family's medical history.

Why did the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribe one antidepressant for my friend with depression, but a different one for someone else?

Responses to medication are highly individualized. A medicine that works well with one person may work very differently for you.
For more detailed information see Counseling Services or information about Appointments.