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Drugs in mental health

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Psychoactive drug. An assortment of psychoactive drugs—street drugs and medications: Psychoactive substances often bring about subjective (although these may be objectively observed) changes in consciousness and mood that the user may find rewarding and pleasant (e.g. euphoria or a sense of relaxation) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness) and are thus reinforcing.

Psychoactive drug

Substances which are both rewarding and positively reinforcing have the potential to induce a state of addiction – compulsive drug use despite negative consequences – when used consistently in excess. Serotonin transporter. The serotonin transporter ( SERT ) is a monoamine transporter protein .

Serotonin transporter

This is an integral membrane protein that transports the neurotransmitter serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons . This transport of serotonin by the SERT protein terminates the action of serotonin and recycles it in a sodium-dependent manner. This protein is the target of many antidepressant medications, including those of the SSRI class. [ 1 ] It is a member of the sodium:neurotransmitter symporter family. Apoptosis. In contrast to necrosis, which is a form of traumatic cell death that results from acute cellular injury, apoptosis is a highly regulated and controlled process that confers advantages during an organism's lifecycle.


For example, the separation of fingers and toes in a developing human embryo occurs because cells between the digits undergo apoptosis. Unlike necrosis, apoptosis produces cell fragments called apoptotic bodies that phagocytic cells are able to engulf and quickly remove before the contents of the cell can spill out onto surrounding cells and cause damage.[5] Because apoptosis cannot stop once it has begun, it is a highly regulated process. Apoptosis can be initiated through one of two pathways. In the intrinsic pathway the cell kills itself because it senses cell stress, while in the extrinsic pathway the cell kills itself because of signals from other cells. Research on apoptosis has increased substantially since the early 1990s. Dyskinesia. Dyskinesia is a movement disorder which consists of adverse effects including diminished voluntary movements [ 1 ] and the presence of involuntary movements, similar to tics or chorea .


Dyskinesia can be anything from a slight tremor of the hands to uncontrollable movement of, most commonly, the upper body but can also be seen in the lower extremities. Discoordination can also occur internally especially with the respiratory muscles and it often goes unrecognized. [ 2 ] Dyskinesia is a symptom of several medical disorders and is distinguished by the underlying cause. Types [ edit ] Acute [ edit ] Acute dystonia is a cerebral type of palsy. Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) is evident in patients with Parkinson's disease who have been on levodopa for prolonged periods of time.

Off-period dystonia - correlated to the akinesia that occurs before the full effect of L-dopa sets in, when the plasma levels of L-dopa are low. Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. Symptoms[edit] HPPD noise simulation, often referred to as visual snow Visual aberrations can occur periodically in healthy individuals – e.g. afterimages after staring at a light, noticing floaters inside the eye, or seeing specks of light in a darkened room.

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder

However, in people with HPPD, symptoms are typically persistent enough that the individual cannot ignore them. [citation needed] There is some uncertainty about to what degree visual snow constitutes a true HPPD symptom. HPPD usually has a visual manifestation. It also should be noted that the visuals do not constitute true hallucinations in the clinical sense of the word; people with HPPD recognize the visuals to be illusory, or pseudohallucinations, and thus maintain the ability to determine what is real (in contrast to some mental illnesses such as schizophrenia).[4]

Excitotoxicity. Low Ca 2+ buffering and excitotoxicity under physiological stress and pathophysiological conditions in motor neuron (MNs).


Low Ca 2+ buffering in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) vulnerable hypoglossal MNs exposes mitochondria to higher Ca 2+ loads compared to highly buffered cells. Under normal physiological conditions, the neurotransmitter opens glutamate, NMDA and AMPA receptor channels, and voltage dependent Ca 2+ channels (VDCC) with high glutamate release, which is taken up again by EAAT1 and EAAT2. Modafinil. Modafinil (INN, USAN, BAN, JAN) is a wakefulness-promoting agent (or eugeroic) used for treatment of disorders such as narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea.[7] It has also seen widespread off-label use as a purported cognition-enhancing agent.


In English-speaking countries it is sold under the brand names Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil. In the United States modafinil is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance and restricted in availability and usage, due to concerns about possible addiction potential. Antidepressant. Antidepressants are drugs used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other conditions, including dysthymia, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, chronic pain, neuropathic pain and, in some cases, dysmenorrhoea, snoring, migraines, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse and sleep disorders.


They can be used alone or in combination with other medications. The most important classes of antidepressants are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Other drugs used or proposed for the treatment of depression include buprenorphine,[1] tryptophan,[2] low-dose antipsychotics,[3] and St John's wort.[4] Efficacy[edit] To establish efficacy, an antidepressant must show that it can produce a therapeutic effect for the condition for which it is taken.

Clinical guidelines[edit] Dirty drug. A dirty drug is an informal term used in pharmacology to describe drugs that may bind to many different molecular targets or receptors in the body, and so tend to have a wide range of effects and possibly negative side effects .

Dirty drug

Today, pharmaceutical companies try to make new drugs as selective as possible to minimise binding to antitargets and hence reduce the occurrence of side effects and risk of adverse reactions. Examples of compounds often cited as "dirty drugs" include chlorpromazine , dextromethorphan and ibogaine , all of which bind to multiple receptors or influence multiple receptor systems. Benzodiazepine. A benzodiazepine /ˌbɛnzɵdaɪˈæzɨpiːn/ (sometimes colloquially "benzo"; often abbreviated "BZD") is a psychoactive drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring.


Tranquilizer. Anxiolytic. An anxiolytic (also antipanic or antianxiety agent ) [ 1 ] is a drug that inhibits anxiety . Some recreational drugs like alcoholic beverages (which contain ethanol ) induce anxiolysis. Anxiolytic medications have been used for the treatment of anxiety and its related psychological and physical symptoms. Anxiolytics have been shown to be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders . Interneuron. An interneuron (also called relay neuron , association neuron , connector neuron or local circuit neuron ) is a neuron that forms a connection between other neurons.

Interneurons are neither motor nor sensory . The term is also applied to brain and spinal cord neurons whose axons connect only with nearby neurons, to distinguish them from "projection" neurons, whose axons ( projection fibers ) project to more distant regions of the brain or spinal cord. Interneurons in the central nervous system [ edit ] When contrasted with the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the neurons of the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain , are all interneurons.

MDMA. MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is an empathogenic drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine classes of drugs. MDMA has become widely known as "ecstasy" (shortened to "E", "X", or "XTC"), usually referring to its street form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants. The UK term "Mandy" and the US term "Molly" colloquially refer to MDMA that is relatively free of adulterants.[3] MDMA can induce euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, diminished anxiety, and mild psychedelia.

Many studies, particularly in the fields of psychology and cognitive therapy, have suggested MDMA has therapeutic benefits and facilitates therapy sessions in certain individuals, a practice for which it had been formally used in the past. Antipsychotic. Olanzapine (Zyprexa), an example of a second-generation antipsychotic Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics or major tranquilizers)[1] are a class of psychiatric medication primarily used to manage psychosis (including delusions, hallucinations, or disordered thought), in particular in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and are increasingly being used in the management of non-psychotic disorders (ATC code N05A). The word neuroleptic originates from the Greek word lepsis ("seizure" or "fit").[2] First-generation antipsychotics, known as typical antipsychotics, were discovered in the 1950s. Most second-generation drugs, known as atypical antipsychotics, have been developed more recently, although the first atypical antipsychotic, clozapine, was discovered in the 1950s and introduced clinically in the 1970s.

Both generations of medication tend to block receptors in the brain's dopamine pathways, but atypicals tend to act on serotonin receptors as well. Medical uses[edit] Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor [ 1 ] ( SSRIs ) are a class of compounds typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of depression , anxiety disorders , and some personality disorders .

SSRIs are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by inhibiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell , increasing the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft available to bind to the postsynaptic receptor . They have varying degrees of selectivity for the other monoamine transporters , with pure SSRIs having only weak affinity for the noradrenaline and dopamine transporter . Pharmaceutical industry. Prescription drug. Pharmacology.