Pharmacological Treatments – Psychopharmacology – Prescription


Psychiatric drugs, also known as psychotropic drugs or psychotropics, are a powerful tool for treating and managing mental illness.

The drugs used in psychiatry include:

  1. Antidepressants, an important ally for people struggling with depression.
  2. Anxiolytics (often referred to as tranquilizers) with sedative, muscle relaxant, antiepileptic, and euphoric effects.
  3. Antipsychotics (also known as “neuroleptics”). These are effective in the most serious psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (formerly known as “manic-depression”) or as enhancers of the action of antidepressant drugs.
  4. Mood stabilizers mainly used for bipolar disorder.
  5. Sedatives-hypnotics, some of which have a chemical relationship with anxiolytics.
  6. Stimulants, which are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

All psychiatric drugs work by changing the levels of one or more neurotransmitters, chemical compounds that transmit information in the brain.

With the exception of anxiety, stimulant, and hypnotic medications, the other psychiatric medications do not cause addiction, although any medication taken for a long period of time should be discontinued gradually and not abruptly. Even anxiety, stimulant, and hypnotic medications can be safely taken under the guidance of a specialist, without long-term effects.

If medications are discontinued too early in the treatment, such as when the patient first starts to feel better, relapse is common. After a certain period of time, the doctor may recommend discontinuing, with this period being around 5 to 6 months in the case of antidepressants, and 2 to 3 years in the case of antipsychotics. The reappearance of symptoms several weeks after discontinuation of treatment may indicate the need for maintenance therapy.

It is true that every psychotropic drug, like all drugs in other specialties, has a long list of side effects. However, only a small portion of these are very common (over 10%) or common (over 1%). Therefore, in principle, it should be noted that the chances of someone not experiencing any side effects during drug treatment are high. In the remaining percentage, most of the time the side effects are tolerable and transient.

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