Knowing how medicines work and what they do inside the body can be an important step for some people. Better understanding can lead to more confidence that the medicine will be helpful and that any side-effects can be predicted and managed.

Here are sources of information that might be of help in understanding medicines used to help in mental health conditions. All of the websites we mention will show you useful, unbiased information to help when making decisions. None are better or worse than the others, but each has its own style that you might find more or less helpful.


Choice and Medication

Choice and Medication is a website created by specialist mental health pharmacists that also provides a range of information on mental health conditions and the medicines used to help people to recover and stay well. The website’s “handy book” explains how the different medicines work in quite a lot of detail.  Individual chapters can be read or downloaded separately. The leaflets about individual medicines on the website will also provide some basic information about how they work.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists produces a range of easy-to-read information about different mental health conditions and the available support and treatments. Information is written by doctors in collaboration with patients and carers. Some of the information describes how different types of mental health medicines work.



The mental health charity MIND also provides helpful advice about mental health conditions and treatments including descriptions of different types of medication.