Psychopharmacological research::Psychopharmacology


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Psychopharmacological research {{#invoke:main|main}} In psychopharmacology, researchers are interested in any substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and thus has an effect on behavior, mood or cognition. Drugs are researched for their physiochemical properties, physical side effects, and psychological side effects. Researchers in psychopharmacology study a variety of different psychoactive substances that include alcohol, cannabinoids, club drugs, psychedelics, opiates, nicotine, caffeine, psychomotor stimulants, inhalants, and anabolic-androgenic steroids. They also study drugs used in the treatment of affective and anxiety disorders, as well as schizophrenia.

Clinical studies are often very specific, typically beginning with animal testing, and ending with human testing. In the human testing phase, there is often a group of subjects, one group is given a placebo, and the other is administered a carefully measured therapeutic dose of the drug in question. After all of the testing is completed, the drug is proposed to the concerned regulatory authority (e.g. the U.S. FDA), and is either commercially introduced to the public via prescription, or deemed safe enough for over the counter sale.

Though particular drugs are prescribed for specific symptoms or syndromes, they are usually not specific to the treatment of any single mental disorder. Because of their ability to modify the behavior of even the most disturbed patients, the antipsychotic, antianxiety, and antidepressant agents have greatly affected the management of the hospitalized mentally ill, enabling hospital staff to devote more of their attention to therapeutic efforts and enabling many patients to lead relatively normal lives outside of the hospital.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

A somewhat controversial application of psychopharmacology is "cosmetic psychiatry": persons who do not meet criteria for any psychiatric disorder are nevertheless prescribed psychotropic medication. The antidepressant Wellbutrin is then prescribed to increase perceived energy levels and assertiveness while diminishing the need for sleep. The antihypertensive compound Inderal is sometimes chosen to eliminate the discomfort of day-to-day "normal" anxiety . Prozac in nondepressed people can produce a feeling of generalized well-being. Mirapex, a treatment for restless leg syndrome, can dramatically increase libido in women. These and other off-label life-style applications of medications are not uncommon. Although occasionally reported in the medical literature no guidelines for such usage have been developed.<ref>AJ Giannini.The case for cosmetic psychiatry: Treatment without diagnosis. Psychiatric Times. 21(7):1-2,2004</ref> There is also a potential for the misuse of prescription psychoactive drugs by elderly persons, who may have multiple drug prescriptions.<ref>Blow, F.C., Osline, D.W., & Barry, K.L. (2002). Misuse of abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs, and psychoactive medication among older people. Generations, 50-54.</ref><ref>Hilmer, S.N., McLachlan, A. J., & Couteur, D. G. L. (2007). Clinical pharmacology in the geriatric patient. (Vol. 21, pp. 217-230). Blackwell Publishing Ltd.</ref>

Psychopharmacology sections
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Psychopharmacological research
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