In his article serotonin the neurotransmitter for the

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In his article, “Serotonin: The Neurotransmitter for the ’90s” (Drug Topics, October 10, 1994), Ronald F. Borne, Ph.D., explains the importance of serotonin, which is produced and stored in the human brain: Of the chemical neurotransmitter substances, serotonin is perhaps the most implicated in the etiology or treatment of various disorders, particularly those of the central nervous system, including anxiety, depression, obsessive- compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, stroke, obesity, pain, hypertension, vascular disorders, migraine and nausea. Borne continues: The functions of serotonin are numerous and appear to involve control of appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, mood behavior (including sexual and hallucinogenic behavior), cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, endocrine regulation and depression... The new drugs target only specific neurotransmitter sites and produce a “lower side effect profile.” For instance, risperidone (Risperdal™ ) has been reported to reduce hallucinations (in schizophrenia), and fluoxetine (Prozac™ ) improve thought processes associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and chronic depressive disorders without causing extrapyramidal symptoms such as tardive dyskinesia, Parkinsonism, involuntary muscular movements, and rigidity. Clozapine (Clozaril™ ), the first second generation antipsychotic, reduced or eliminated some symptoms of schizophrenia (such as hallucinations), and improved cognition. Clozapine has serious side effects—agranulocytosis, increase in seizures, tachycardia— and requires frequent blood tests. Today, medications for schizophrenia are more effective and present fewer side effects. 33
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References American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (4th edition.) Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. Borne, Ronald F. (October 10, 1994). Serotonin: The neurotransmitter for the ’90s. Drug Topics. Crowley, Kathleen. (2000) The Power of Procovery in Healing Mental Illness: Just Start Anywhere. San Francisco: Kennedy Carlisle Publishing Co. Diller, Lawrence H., MD. (1998) Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill. New York: Bantam Books. Greene, Ross W., PhD., (2001) The Explosive Child, 2nd Edition. New York: Harper Collins. The Harvard Mental Health Letter. (December 1997). Boston: Harvard Medical School. NIMH. (2001)“Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia: An Update from the National Institute of Mental Health.” Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Panzarino, P. J. (2002). “Electroconvulsive Therapy” . Yeargin-Allsopp M, Rice C, Karapurkar T, Doernberg N, Boyle C, Murphy C., (2003). JAMA. 2003 Jan 1;289(1):49-55. Resources We are indebted to the American Psychiatric Association for permission to reprint information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).
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