e. Because of their negative side effects, people often stopped taking them.This resulted in a “revolving door” pattern of hospitalization, discharge, and rehospitalization.3. The atypical antipsychoticsa. Atypical antipsychotic medicationsblock dopamine receptors in brain regions associated with psychotic symptoms rather than more globally throughout the brain, resulting in fewer side effects. They also affect brain levels of serotonin.(1) They are less likely to cause movementrelated side effects.(2) They still cause some of the same side effects as firstgeneration antipsychotics, such as weight gain and cardiac problems.(3) They also sharply increase the risk of developing diabetes.(4) Largescale studies show these newer treatments are no more effective than their older counterpartsB. Antianxiety MedicationsAntianxiety medicationsare prescription drugs that are used to alleviate the symptoms of pathological anxiety.
1. The bestknown antianxiety drugs are the benzodiazepines,which includethe tradename drugs Valium andXanax.a. In general, the benzodiazepines produce their effects by increasing the level of GABA,a neurotransmitter that inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain and slows brain activity.b. However, the benzodiazepines have several potentially dangerous side effects.(1) They can reduce coordination, alertness, and reaction time.(2) Their effects can be intensified if combined with alcohol and many other drugs.(3) They are physically addictive if taken in large quantities or over a long period.2. A newer antianxiety drug with the trade name Busparhas fewer side effects.
C. LithiumLithiumis a naturally occurring substance that is used effectively in the treatment of bipolar disorder.1. Lithium stops acute manic episodes over a period of a week or two and can help prevent relapses into either mania or depression.2. There is a very narrow difference between the therapeutic dosage level and the toxic dosage level, requiring careful monitoring of the patient’s lithium blood level.
3. Lithium stabilizes the availability of the neurotransmittor glutamatewithin a narrow, normal range, preventing both abnormal highs and abnormal lows.4. Bipolar disorder can also be treated with an anticonvulsant medicine called Depakote. It is useful for treating patients who do not respond to lithium and patients who rapidly cycle through bouts of bipolar disorder several times a year.D. Antidepressant MedicationsAntidepressant medicationsare prescription drugs that are used to reduce the symptoms associated with depression.