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Psychopharmacology: four drug classes used in mental health & discussion of consumers rights Essay Example

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There are four different classes of drugs used in mental health; these include antidepressants, mood stabilisers, stimulants, and antipsychotics (Mitchell & Selmes, 2007). Antidepressants are used to treat depression and other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder. This class of drugs works by balancing chemicals in the brain of an individual suffering from depression. They also provide relief for physical signs of depression, such as drained energy levels and headaches (Roose, 2012). By alleviating the signs of depression, antidepressants can make other forms of treatment more effective. Mood stabilizer is another class of drugs used in mental health; they are used to treat mood disorders usually typified by intense and sustained shifts in mood of an individually, and typically bipolar disorder (Gunawardene, 2011). Just like depressants, mood stabilizers act by balancing brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which control emotional behaviours and states.

Another class of drugs used in mental health are antipsychotics, which are used to treat schizophrenia. According to Copeland (2009), antipsychotics treat the symptoms of schizophrenia by blocking D2 receptors in the dopamine alleyways in the brain of a person suffering from schizophrenia and some other conditions like bipolar disorder (pp. 635). This means that dopamine released in these pathways has less effect. Stimulants, on the other hand, are used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder. They help in managing ADHD symptoms, such as impulsive behaviour, short attention span, and hyperactivity. Stimulants act by raising the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical or neurotransmitter that controls attention, movement, and pleasure.

Patients with mental health problems have every right to know about all aspects of a prescribed psychotropic medication. Disclosure of information should begin in the early stages of contact between the patient and clinician. This assists in establishing mutual trust and building a therapeutic relationship, which in turn helps the clinician to identify the patient’s concerns and preferences and discuss the benefits and hazards of a certain treatment option. There as various aspects of prescribed psychotropic medication that a patient has a right to know. For example, a patient has a right to know recommended treatment for his or her condition; this will enable him have confidence towards the medication he receives. According to Sachs (2010), recommended treatment should be discussed with the patient to establish a preferred routine that will reduce stigma (pp. 563). It is also important for patient to know any special medication arrangements that may affect their lifestyle and the side effects of using the prescribed medication and effects of non adherence to such medication. This will enable the patient to avoid behaviours and practices that may jeopardize his or her health during the medication process.

On the other hand, there is concern that complete knowledge may influence the consumers non- adherence. This is because when a patient learns of unlikable side effects such as weight gain or sexual dysfunction they will be less reluctant to consume the prescribed psychotropic medication (Rothschild, Bates, Boehringer & Syed, 2009). In addition, a patient who learns that they are very unwell may not adhere to medication if they feel that they have very slim chances of getting better.


Copeland, L. A. (2009). Pharmacy data identify poorly adherent patients with schizophrenia

at increased risk for admission. Medical Care, 40, 630-639.

Gunawardene S. (2011). Does stimulant therapy of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

beget later substance abuse? A meta-analytic review of the literature. Paediatrics, 128


Mitchell, A.J & Selmes, T. (2007).Why don’t patients take their medicine? Reasons and

solutions in psychiatry. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, vol. 13, 336–346.

Rothschild AJ, Bates KS, Boehringer KL, Syed A. (2009) Olanzapine response in psychotic

depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60 (2):116-118.

Roose, S. P. (2012). Compliance: the impact of adverse events and tolerability on the

physician’s treatment decisions. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 13(3), 85–92.

Sachs G.S. (2010). Bipolar depression: pharmacotherapy and related therapeutic strategies.

Biological Psychiatry, 48(6):558-572.