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Moving Forward: How Medication Management Supports Recovery from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Issues 

05/14/2024

About 80 percent of the clients we serve at SouthLight have both a mental health and substance use disorder.  

SouthLight’s Advanced Practice Provider, Melony Malloy, explains:  

Often, a person may have more than one mental health condition or both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition that occur at the same time. These can often be addressed together with medication management.  

We sat down with Melony to learn more about medication management and the changes she and her team of providers see at SouthLight.  

What is Psychiatric Medication Management?  

Psychiatric medication management involves working with a provider who prescribes medicines to address a mental health diagnosis. The provider may be a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant. The provider prescribes medications and makes sure they are appropriate, safe, and effective to meet the individual needs. 

When would someone need medication management?  

A person may seek medication management for conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. They may also seek medication treatment if they abuse substances such as alcohol, opiates, or stimulants. Often a substance use disorder and a mental health condition can be addressed together at a medication management appointment. 

Medication Management for Deeper Healing from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Challenges 

We see lives change when people can return to their previous level of functioning. That looks different for everyone.  

After getting on the right medication, I’ve seen a client with a severe mental illness stay out of the hospital for the past four years. They kept a full-time job, moved into their apartment for the first time, and eventually married.   

I’ve seen a client with anxiety and panic disorder that often prevented them from doing their work or engaging in activities that they enjoyed. They can now travel, spend time with family, and work outside their home.  

Clients with substance use disorders can maintain sobriety and repair relationships with loved ones damaged by substance use. 

Personalized Care: How Medication Management Tailored to Individual Needs is Transforming Lives 

The most rewarding part of this work is being able to share in the successes of my clients. There are major transformations such as witnessing the journey from homelessness to a sober living house, and eventually to their place.  

But there are also less dramatic successes that are just as satisfying. Working with someone whose depression or anxiety is keeping them from fully engaging with the world around them and seeing them return to doing the things they enjoy or being successful in their work or educational goals is very fulfilling. 

What’s the one thing you want our community to understand about mental health?  

If you are struggling with a mental health condition that is preventing you from living life to the fullest, medication management may be able to help. It may take time and patience to find the right medication, but once it happens, it can be life-changing. When medication management is paired with our other services such as individual or group therapy, peer support, judicial services, or residential treatment, the impact is even greater. 

Learn more about SouthLight’s Medication Management services.  

Melony Malloy, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C, Senior Lead Psychiatric Services

Melony Malloy is a North Carolina native. She earned her undergraduate nursing degree at East Carolina University and her graduate degree from The University of South Alabama. She enjoys working with adults with psychiatric and substance use disorders. When she’s not at work, Melony enjoys spending time with her family and pets, listening to music, and traveling.