is a licenced psychoactive drug
taken to exert an effect on the mental state
and used to treat mental disorders
. Usually utilized in psychiatric
settings, these medications are made of synthetic chemical compounds
, although some are naturally occurring.
Prescription psychiatric medications, like any prescription medication
, usually require a prescription
from a physician
, such as a psychiatrist
, before it can be obtained. Some U.S. states
, following the creation of the prescriptive authority for psychologists movement
, have granted prescriptive privileges to clinical psychologists
that have undergone additional training.
Psychopharmacology studies a wide range of substances with various types of psychoactive
properties, though the professional
fields of pharmacology
and psychopharmacology don't typically focus on psychedelic
or recreational drugs
; the majority of studies are conducted on psychiatric medication. While studies are conducted on all psychoactives
by both fields, psychopharmacology focuses primarily on the psychoactive
interactions with the brain
. Physicians who research psychiatric medications are psychopharmacologists
, specialists in the field of psychopharmacology.
Psychiatric medications sometimes have adverse side effects
that may reduce patients' drug compliance
. Some of these side effects can be further treated by using other drugs
such as anticholinergic
(antimuscarinic) medications. Some side effects, including the possibility of a sudden or severe re-emergence of psychotic features, may appear when the patient stops taking the drug, particularly if a drug is suddenly discontinued instead of slowly tapered off.
There are six main groups of psychiatric medications.
- Antidepressants, which are used to treat disparate disorders such as clinical depression, dysthymia, anxiety, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.
- Stimulants, which are used to treat disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy and to suppress the appetite.
- Antipsychotics, which are used to treat psychoses such as schizophrenia and mania.
- Mood stabilizers, which are used to treat bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
- Anxiolytics, which are used to treat anxiety disorders.
- Depressants, which are used as hypnotics, sedatives, and anesthetics.
are drugs that are used in the treatment of various symptoms of psychosis
, such as those caused by Psychotic Disorders
. Antipsychotics are also sometimes used as mood stabilizers
, most frequently to help manage such disorders
as Bipolar disorder
, even if no symptoms of psychosis
are present. Antipsychotics may also be referred to as neuroleptic drugs
antipsychotics are branded as major tranquilizers
There are two categories of Antipsychotics, typical antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics, and due to the nature of the drugs the majority of them require a verifiable prescription from a licensed physician.
Common Antipsychotics :
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Typical antipsychotic
- Haloperidol (Haldol), Typical antipsychotic
- Perphenazine (Trilafon), Typical antipsychotic
- Thioridazine (Mellaril), Typical antipsychotic
- Thiothixene (Navane), Typical antipsychotic
- Trifluoperazine (Stelazine), Typical antipsychotic
- Aripiprazole (Abilify), Atypical antipsychotic
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Atypical antipsychotic
- Quetiapine (Seroquel), Atypical antipsychotic
- Risperidone (Risperdal), Atypical antipsychotic
- Ziprasidone (Geodon), Atypical antipsychotic
are drugs used in the treatment of clinical depression
, and they are also often used for anxiety and other disorders. Most antidepressants
will restrain the metabolism of serotonin
. Such drugs are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
(SSRI), and they actively attempt to prevent the aforementioned neurotransmitters
from dropping to the levels at which depression is experienced. SSRIs will often take 3-5 weeks to have a noticeable effect, due to the inability of the brain to process the flood of serotonin
and it reacts by downregulating
the sensitivity of the autoreceptors
, which can take up to 5 weeks. Currently, Bi-functional SSRIs are being researched, which will occupy the autoreceptors
, bypassing the 'throttling' of serotonin. Another type of antidepressant is a Monoamine oxidase inhibitor
, which are thought to block the actions of MAO
, an enzyme which assists in the breakdown of serotonin
. MAOI's are typically only used in the event that a tricyclic antidepressant
fails to prevent or exacerbates depression.
Common Antidepressants :
- Citalopram (Celexa), SSRI
- Escitalopram (Lexapro), SSRI
- Fluoxetine (Prozac), SSRI
- Sertraline (Zoloft), SSRI
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta), SNRI
- Venlafaxine (Effexor), SNRI
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin), NDRI
- Mirtazapine (Remeron), NaSSA
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan), MAO Inhibitor
- Phenelzine (Nardil), MAO Inhibitor
In 1949, the Australian John Cade
discovered that lithium salts
could control mania
, reducing the frequency and severity of manic episodes. This introduced the now popular drug Lithium carbonate
to the mainstream public, as well as being the first mood stabilizer to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration
. Many antipsychotics
are used as mood stabilizers, although typically the first resort would be a standard mood stabilizer
such as Lithium carbonate
. Many mood stabilizers, with the exception of Lithium
, are anticonvulsants
Common Mood Stabilizers :
are some of the most widely prescribed drugs today. A stimulant is any drug that stimulates the central nervous system
, a collection of Amphetamine
salts, is one of the most prescribed pharmaceuticals in the treatment of ADHD. Typically prescribed to treat adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
and an increasingly amount of adults, it is very common as a treatment. Patients respond differently to each drug. Most frequently used are timed-release mediums but if such a method doesn't work there are many options to try. Stimulants have the potential to be addictive and patients with a history of drug abuse are typically monitored closely or even barred from the usage and given an alternative. Discontinuing treatment without tapering the dosage is not advisable.
Common Stimulants :
Anxiolytics & Hypnotics
were first used as hypnotics
and as anxiolytics
, but as time went on, safer benzodiazepines
(Lowell Randall and Leo Sternbach, 1957) were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually they led to billions of doses being consumed annually, but as prescriptions were increasing, even more was the abuse of them.
Common Anxiolytics & Hypnotics: