Psychiatric medication

Psychiatric medication 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 and territories, following the creation of the prescriptive authority for psychologists movement, have granted prescriptive privileges to clinical psychologists that have undergone additional training.cite web
last = Murray
first = Bridget
title = A Brief History of RxP
publisher = APA Monitor
date = October, 2003
url =
accessdate = 4/11/2007


Psychopharmacology studies a wide range of substances with various types of psychoactive properties, though the professional and commercial 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 and chemical interactions with the brain. Physicians who research psychiatric medications are psychopharmacologists, specialists in the field of psychopharmacology.

ide effects

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. [cite journal
last = Schatzberg
first = A.F.
year = 2000
title = New indications for antidepressants
journal = Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
volume = 61
issue = 11
pages = 9–17
pmid = 10926050
accessdate = 2007-11-20
*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.


"Antipsychotics" are drugs that are used in the treatment of various symptoms of psychosis, such as those caused by Psychotic Disorders or Schizophrenia. 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" and "some" 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


"Antidepressants" 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 and/or norepinephrine. 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 and norepinephrine. MAOI's are typically only used in the event that a tricyclic antidepressant or SSRI 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 [cite paper
author =Stephen M. Stahl, M.D., Ph.D.; et al
title =A Review of the Neuropharmacology of Bupropion, a Dual Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor
publisher =Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; 6(04) 159-166 2004 "PHYSICIANS POSTGRADUATE PRESS, INC"
date = 2004
url =
format = pdf
accessdate =2006-09-02
*Mirtazapine (Remeron), NaSSA
*Isocarboxazid (Marplan), MAO Inhibitor
*Phenelzine (Nardil), MAO Inhibitor

Mood stabilizers

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 [] :

*Lithium Carbonate (Carbolith), Regular Mood stabilizer
*Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
*Valproic acid (Valproate), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
*Valproate semisodium (Depakote), Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer
*Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Atypical Anticonvulsant Mood stabilizer


"Stimulants" are some of the most widely prescribed drugs today. A stimulant is "any drug that stimulates the central nervous system". Adderall, 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 [] :
*Caffeine, Typical Stimulant found in many edibles worldwide
*Methylphenidate (Ritalin), (Concerta), (Daytrana) atypical stimulant
*Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) D-isomer of Methylphenidate stimulant
*Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), (Dextrostat), (Vyvanse) D-Amphetamine-based stimulant
*Dextroamphetamine & Levoamphetamine (Adderall), D,l-Amphetamine salt mix stimulant
*Methamphetamine {Desoxyn), D-methamphetamine-based stimulant
*Modafinil (Provigil), stimulant

Anxiolytics & Hypnotics

Barbiturates 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:
*Diazepam (Valium), Benzodiazepine derivative
*Nitrazepam (Mogadon), Benzodiazepine derivative
*Zolpidem (Ambien, Stilnox), an Imidazopyridine
*Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Benzodiazepine derivative

ee also

*Psychoactive drug


External links

* [ Children and Psychiatric Medication - a multimodal presentation]
* [ Psychiatric Treatments and Medications]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Psychiatric and mental health nursing — Psychiatric nursing or mental health nursing is the specialty of nursing that cares for people of all ages with mental illness or mental distress, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression or dementia. Nurses in this area… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric assessment — A psychiatric assessment is a process of gathering information about a from a person within a mental health service, with the purpose of making a diagnosis. The assesment is usually the first stage of a treatment process, but psychiatric… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation — Psychiatric rehabilitation, also known as psychosocial rehabilitation, is the process of restoration of community functioning and wellbeing of an individual who has a psychiatric disability (been diagnosed with a mental disorder). Rehabilitation… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric hospital — This article is about modern psychiatric hospitals. For historical lunatic asylums, see history of psychiatric institutions. Traverse City State Hospital, Traverse City, Michigan Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric advance directive — A Psychiatric advance directive (PAD), also known as a mental health advance directive, is a written document that describes what a person wants to happen if at some time in the future they are judged to be suffering from a mental disorder in… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric service dog — A psychiatric service dog is a specific type of service dog trained to assist their handler with a psychiatric disability, such as post traumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia. Although assistance dogs classically help with physical… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner — For information about the field, see Psychiatric and mental health nursing. An Advanced Practice Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, provides a wide range of services to adults, children, adolescents, and their families in a… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric survivors movement — The Psychiatric survivors movement is a loose coalition of people who, united by the resentment that they have been harmed or betrayed by psychiatry, advocate in favor of mental health treatment alternatives, or just the right to freedom from the …   Wikipedia

  • Psychiatric and mental health Nurse Practitioner — For information about the field, see Psychiatric and mental health nursing. An Advanced Practice Pychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, or Clinical Nurse Specialist(PMHNP or PMHCNS), works in a primary care facility, outpatient mental… …   Wikipedia

  • List of psychiatric medications by condition treated — This is a list of psychiatric medications used by psychiatrists to treat mental illness or distress. It is ordered alphabetically according to the condition or conditions each drug is used to treat, then by the generic name of each drug. The list …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.