Understanding Psychotropic Medications

Are you a foster or adoptive parent whose child is taking mood altering medications or medications to help them sleep? You will learn a lot about these medications and what you can do to make them as effective as possible. We talk with Dr. Adam Langenfeld, a Developmental Pediatrician at Children’s Minnesota hospital. He also has a Ph.D. in chemistry.


In this episode, we cover:

  • What are psychotropic medications?
  • What are the classes of psychotropic medications?
  • What are some commonly prescribed medications in each class?
  • What mental health issues are these medications addressing?
  • Symptoms of anxiety and depression in children.
  • Situational anxiety or depression.
    • SCARED checklist anxiety
    • Childhood Depression Inventory
  • How do psychotropic medications work? A basic overview of Psych Pharmacology.
    • Simulation of a brain synapsis
  • How are medications in each of these classes administered?
  • Does timing of the day matter?
  • How effective is melatonin?
  • Does proximity to meals matter when administering these medications?
  • What are some of the side effects of the most commonly used psychotropic medications?
    • Psychedelics?
    • Supplements (such as CBD)?
  • Why are children in foster care more likely to be on psychotropic medications?
  • Does use of psychotropic medications in childhood increase the likelihood of substance abuse in adolescence or adulthood?
  • What can parents do to help these medications be as effective as possible?
  • How to know when a child should taper down or get off of psychotropic medications?
  • If parents believe that the child is on too many psychotropic medications, what should they do?

Additional Resources:

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

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