Psychotropic drugs: drugs that act on the brain

the psychotropic drugs they are one of the most influential tools in psychology and psychiatry, both in their field of intervention and in research.

However, the fact that its marketing and popularity has spread across much of the planet does not prevent some confusion about what a mind-altering drug really is.

What exactly are mind-altering drugs?

Psychotropics are chemicals that influence mental processes by acting on the nervous system.

However, it should be borne in mind that there are many substances that directly or indirectly affect the neural networks in our body, which is why the concept of psychotropic has a lot to do with the type of effects of the substance, its intensity and legal regulations that determine how and when its consumption should be.

Types of psychotropic drugs

In the wide variety of psychotropic drugs that have been developed there is also a very wide range of functions. And if the nervous system is able to perform all kinds of processes, such as decision making or the regulation of emotional states, the substances that influence these groups of neurons can also produce very different effects depending on the type. of psychotropic drug. is this.

Although each class of substance has very specific effects, yes a classification of the types of psychotropic drugs can be established. These are:

1. Anxiolytics and sedatives

Anxiolytics are a class of mind-altering drugs that decrease the signs of anxiety and agitation associated with them without causing numbness. Benzodiazepines are among the most important anti-anxiety drugs.

Sedatives, on the other hand, lower the level of consciousness. Both types of psychotropic drugs can be used as tranquilizers.

2. Mood stabilizers

This class of psychotropic drugs is used particularly in mood disorders and the like, bipolar disorder being the most typical.

3. Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics, also called neuroleptics, are a type of psychotropic drug whose effects are usually related to alleviating the effects of psychosis and schizophrenia.

4. Antidepressants

Antidepressants are psychotropic drugs used in particular in the treatment of major depressive disorders, and disorders related to difficulty controlling certain impulses.

Among the types of antidepressants, some such as MAOIs, SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants.

How do psychotropic drugs work?

In general, the basic function of mind-altering drugs is to make certain neurons behave differently from the way they act. They do this by directly or indirectly influencing the way these nerve cells pick up certain types of substances called neurotransmitters.

So, for example, a mind-altering drug can cause a certain class of neurons to stop taking up such a high amount of dopamine, which generates a chain reaction that causes symptoms of a disorder to improve.

Psychotropic drugs and their side effects

Psychotropic drugs are, after all, a type of drug that targets the central nervous system. However, that his “ideal” goal being very specific areas of the brain does not mean that these substances only have effects here.

Like all drugs, psychotropic drugs are not intelligent organisms, without sets of molecules that “fit” into some parts of the body and others not. This means that they work where they are supposed to work, but also in many other parts of the body. In other words, psychotropic drugs have side effects, many of which can be very negative.

Psychotropic drugs in the fight against mental illness

Traditionally, mind-altering drugs have been medicine’s answer to cases of mental illness. Part of this means that its use was not intended to apply to healthy people, and it also means that its use has been a way of combating symptoms of disorders that were believed to have a cause in them. ‘individual.

Currently, however, there is a very intense debate about how we should understand mental disorders and therefore how they should be treated by healthcare professionals. This debate fully affects the use of psychotropic drugs, Which in some cases may shift from the core of treatment to becoming an adjunct in a type of problem approach that serves to intervene more in the context in which the person lives and not so much in the person as in isolation.

On this subject, you might be interested in this article: “The differences between syndrome, disorder and disease”

Leave a Comment