Psychiatric Medications

Psychiatric medications are psychoactive drugs that have been legalized and used to affect the nervous system and chemical makeup of the brain. Primarily, they are used to treat mental health issues. Most psychiatric medications are made up of synthetic chemical compounds, however, there are some that are naturally derived and, even, naturally occurring. These drugs played a key part in the de-institutionalization that occurred in the 60s and 70s.


Medications specifically designed for mental health were first introduced in the mid 20th century.

One of the first and most popular of these drugs was chlorpromazine. It was an antipsychotic. A man by the name of Julius Axelrod came up with the Reuptake Hypothesis which dealt with neurotransmitters and the interactions between them. This was one of the major milestones of psychiatric medication. The work of Julius Axelrod greatly advanced the possibilities of what a psychiatric medication could do. Modern psychiatric medications have advanced greatly in the past century. There are a number of natural remedies that have found their place alongside their synthetic brothers in treating psychiatric disorders (e.g. saffron).


Psychiatric medications are prescription drugs that must be prescribed by a physician. Typically a physician that specializes in mental health issues, like a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner. In the United States some states have granted the privilege of prescribing psychiatric medications to psychologists. In addition to the historically common method of ingesting the medication in pill form, new methods such as transmucosal, transdermal, suppository and inhalation are being used to deliver these psychiatric medications into the system.

There are 6 main types of psychiatric medications that exist. They treat 6 different types of mental health issues. There are stimulants that treat mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; anxiolytics that treat anxiety disorder; antidepressants that treat clinical depression, personality disorders and dysthymia; mood stabilizers that treat schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder; antipsychotics that treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders; and depressants that are used as sedatives, hypnotics and anesthetics.

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One of the most historically significant events that took place, partly, as a result of the invention of psychiatric medications is the de-institutionalization of the 60s and 70s. Prior to these decades, if you had a mental health issue that was bad enough that you could not participate in “regular” society you would be placed into an institution where you would stay for your whole life. The invention of psychiatric medications made it possible for patients to leave the institutions and return to the community, to their family and friends.


Many say that psychiatric medications have the potential of causing trauma through the adverse effects some of them have on patients. Some of these adverse effects include: mania, psychosis, hallucinations, depersonalization, suicidal ideation, heart attack, sudden death and stroke. It is important that you work with your doctor in finding the right medication for you. Not only the right medication but the right treatment plan. It is important not to depend entirely on drugs to help cure. Exercise, diet, and behavioral therapy can be other options depending on what your needs are.