There are only a few mental illnesses for which drugs can provide a cure. For the rest, medications at the right dose and with appropriate complementary supports can be effective in relieving the very distressing, painful and disabling psycho-social symptoms. In particular, medications can be useful in relieving:

psychic pain—inconsolable sadness, grief or guilt

extremes of mood—mania, hypomania, depression

hallucinations—affecting one or all of the five senses; these can be auditory (such as hearing voices that no one else can hear), visual, tactile, olfactory and gustatory (taste).

55 disorganised thinking, memory and communication

poor attention, memory and planning

social withdrawal

extreme fear—phobias and anxieties can be very frightening and can lead to social withdrawal

irresistible urges—such as hoarding, stealing, sexual, self-harm or motor/vocal tics.