Psychiatric disorders, Diseases, and Drugs

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Psychiatric disorders, Diseases, and Drugs

The four psychiatric disorders and diseases very well-known are, schizophrenia, affective disorders, also known as mood disorders, which include mania and depression. Other psychiatric disorders and disease are anxiety disorders, and Tourette syndrome. Many of these disorders and diseases have particular drugs that are prescribed to control the problem, however some of these disorders are too severe to require treatment, and may cause negative effects. Schizophrenia comes in different forms, and it is the disease commonly associated with the concept of madness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2009), schizophrenia is a chronic, severe psychiatric disease, in which one percent of Americans are diagnosed with (P.1). Individuals with this disorder say that they hear voices that others do not, they also may believe that others are plotting against them, reading their minds, and controlling their thoughts. However, many times this psychiatric disorder does not display all symptoms, there are both symptoms that are considered positive, such as hallucinations, odd behaviors, and delusions. Along symptoms that are considered negative, like affective flattening, alogia, avolition, and anhedonia.

In the 1950s the first antischizophrenic drug for schizophrenia was discovered, chlorpromazine, it was first developed as an antihistamine, but later a French surgeon’s incorrect suggestions triggered many research in such drug. It was found that “chlorpromazine alleviates schizophrenic symptoms; agitated patients with schizophrenia were calmed by chlorpromazine, and emotionally blunted patients with schizophrenia were activated by it” (Pinel, 2011, P. 469). Although it is not a cure, chlorpromazine “often reduces the severity of schizophrenic symptoms enough to allow institutionalized patients to be discharged” (Pinel, 2011, P. 469). Later after this, a psychiatrist gave reserpine to his patients who suffered of schizophrenia, which proved to work preventing symptoms of schizophrenia. “Reserpine is no longer used in the treatment of schizophrenia because it produces a dangerous decline in blood pressure at the doses needed for the treatment” (Pinel, 2011, P. 469).

While research on Parkinson’s disease researchers concluded that “a disruption of dopaminergic transmission might produce Parkinson’s disease, because of the relation between symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and the antischizophrenic effects of chlorpromazine and reserpine, that antischizophrenic drug effects might be produced in the same way” (Pinel, 2011, P. 469). Making researchers believe that schizophrenia was “caused by too much dopamine and, conversely, that antischizophrenic drugs exert their effects by decreasing dopamine levels” (Pinel, 2011, P. 469). This is when the dopamine theory of schizophrenia was created. Affective disorders mostly known as mood disorders, depression being one of these disorders is something that anyone can go through when grieving, low self-esteem, or low health.

Although this disorder can get out of hand to the point that a person cannot meet their essential requirements, when it lasts more than two weeks, one is diagnosed as clinically depressed, or as having a major depression disorder. Another affective disorder is mania, the opposite of depression, this disorder “is characterized by overconfidence, impulsivity, distractibility, and high energy” (Pinel, 2011, P. 474). In treating affective disorders there are four major drugs that are given, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, selective monoamine-reuptake inhibitors, and mood stabilizers. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, such as Iproniazid acts against clinical depression, although monoamine oxidase inhibitors have many side effect, one being the cheese effect, which is the most dangerous, people cannot eat foods with tyramine, such as cheese, wine, and pickles because their blood pressure can dangerously elevate, causing strokes.

A safer alternative from Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Imipramine, which helps with depressed patients. Another affective drug that has been accepted within the psychiatric community because of its few side effects and act against not only depression but other psychological disorders is Prozac, one of the many selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors. Lastly, mood stabilizers, such as Lithium “are drugs that act against depression without increasing mania or, conversely, act against mania without increasing depression” (Pinel, 2011, P. 476). There are two theories of affective disorders, one being the monoamine theory of depression, in where researchers believe that depression “is associated with underactivity at serotonergic and noradrenergic synapses” (Pinel, 2011, P. 477). There are also beliefs that all four major drugs of affective disorders are agonists of serotonin, norepinephrine, or with both.

However, this theory is not very strong because few dressed patients benefit from monoamine agonists. Another theory of depression is the diathesis-stress model, in where the central idea is that “susceptible individuals are exposed to stress early in life, their systems become permanently sensitized, and they overreact to mild stressors for the rest of their lives” (Pinel, 2011, 478). Meaning that depressed people seem to release more stress hormones and those who experience early stress are more probable to suffer from depression later on in life, even though there has been evidence of such thing, it is not so convincing and it cannot be confirmed. Anxiety disorders are behaviors that disrupts an individual’s normal function, anxiety disorders correlate with stress, fear, worry, and the feeling of anxiety.

It also comes with a variety of physiological stress reactions, such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, problems with breathing, sleeping problems, and high levels of glucocorticoids. In addition, there are five classes of anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, phobic anxiety disorder, panic disorders, obsessive- compulsive disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorders. According to the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Toronto (2010), “anxiety disorders, as a group, are among the most common mental health conditions and frequently cause significant functional impairment. Both psychotherapeutic and pharmacologic techniques are recognized to be effective management strategies” (P. 1). The effective drugs prescribed for the five classes of anxiety disorders is benzodiazepines, serotonin agonists, and antidepressants. Benzodiazepines is a widely prescribed drug for the treatment of anxiety disorders, not only that but they are also prescribed as sleep inducing drugs, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants.

However, this drug is dangerously addictive and can only be taken for a short period of time, producing several side effects, such as sedation, disruption of motor activity, tremor, nausea, and rebound anxiety. Serotonin agonists is another drug used for the treatment of anxiety disorders, in fact this drug does not produce the side effects that Benzodiazepines drugs do, but it does have its own side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and insomnia. The last type of drug that is used for anxiety disorders is antidepressant drugs. There are “observations that antidepressants such as the SSRIs, are often effective against anxiety disorders, and anxiolytic drugs are often effective against depression” (Pinel, 2011, P. 480). Tourette syndrome, the last of the four psychiatric disorders and diseases, being very different from the other four, is known to be the “disorder of tics” (Pinel, 2011, P. 482).

People who develop this syndrome are mostly children and adolescents, they undergo simple motor tics, but as they grow older the tics begin to be more severe and complex. “Tourette tics is consistent with the current hypothesis that the disorder is related to an abnormality of the basal ganglia–thalamus, cortex feedback circuit” (Pinel, 2011, P. 483). However, to begin treatment first everyone who is associated with the patient and the patient is educated about the syndrome, secondly doctors focus on any emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression. After, the syndrome can be treated with neuroleptics, a drug that is also used in schizophrenia patients.

This drug reduces the tics by 70%, but it does come with side effects, such as weight gain, fatigue, and dry mouth, that is why some patients refuse to take it. Schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, affective disorders like depression and anxiety, along with the Tourette’s syndrome are all psychiatric disorders that people in the United States and all over the world suffer from. Many disorders can be in genetics, but others are just developed, by stress, or any other reason. However, these disorders have drugs that may give negative side effects. An individual must be informed in their condition and the drugs that can help calm symptoms and do not cause any harmful side effects that can jeopardize one’s health.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). Schizophrenia. Retrieved from Pinel, J. P. J. (2011). Biopsychology (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Ravindran, L. N. (2010, July). The Pharmacologic treatment of anxiety disorder: a review of progress. Retrieved from


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 April 2016

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