Medications for Mental Disorders
My personal outtake on medication for medical disorders:
On my 2011 interview to Globo (National Television) I talked about medications and how they can be both good and bad.
Mental Health drugs are usually frowned upon, but their bad fame comes from times the mental illnesses were ill famed as well. Now, there are treatments available that won't cause addiction and few side effects.
Mental Illnesses are usually the result of a poor neurotransmitter balance, and the drugs usually correct this factor, enabling you to fight the condition with therapy in a more effective way.
There are allot of mental disorders that require medications for their treatment like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders.
Others will often be treated by Behavior Therapy, but will see the success rate of the treatment improved with the correct use of chemical substances - that is the case of depression and anxiety disorders.
This type of drugs balance the chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters) and they have a special focus on Serotonin.
Some studies say that these medications pump up the risk of suicide in young people. Even if this is true, the ailments they usually treat (like depression) are a major cause of suicide themselves. The psychiatrist must weight the pros and cons of each case and decide accordingly.
Along with therapy, these medications improve the life quality of millions of patients worldwide.
On a side note, I would like to state that SSRI Antidepressants take about 2 to 4 weeks to be up and functioning in your body.
Furthermore, you should only stop taking those medications after you and your doctor plan a withdrawal phase so you can avoid withdrawal syndromes - You should only start to think about leaving the treatment after 6 months without symptoms.
Mental Health Medications for Anxiety
They aren't a cure, but they help on a situation the symptoms are so overwhelming the patients need a little help to cope with them. Some drugs in this family are alprazolam, clonazepam and lorazepam.
Some of the symptoms they fight are the following:
- Rapid and irregular heart beats
- Breathing Problems
The most important group of anti-anxiety medications are the Benzodiazepines, because they can relieve symptoms within a short time.
This comes with a trade off - common side effects include:
- Mental Slowing
- Loss of coordination
Also called neuroleptics, they treat psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Some examples are Clozaril and Zyprexa.
These drugs are the worst, in terms of side effects, as they are proved to diminish the life expectancy of those dependent of them.
Some of the bad results of a long term treatment using antipsychotics include the thinning of Brain tissue of up to 10%, the appearance of diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, sexual disfunction and Tardive Dyskinesia.
Tardive Dyskinesia is a condition that makes the patient have involuntary muscle twitches and movements, usually around the mouth.
Type of Medication
Low longterm consequences
Vital for some conditions
Causes lots of side-effects
The Mental Health medications are currently evolving and this is a science in constantly evolution. Laboratories all around the world fight everyday to develop better medications, with more direct approaches on the problems and with less side effects on the patients. We cannot forget that mental illnesses were not an object of study for a long time and that we are only starting to grasp these problems. My hope is that soon enough, new knowledge upon these topics will be shed and that the nasty side effects will fade year after year.
Progress is the motto of mankind!