Advances in drug treatment have revolutionised the practice of psychiatry over the past six decades. Drugs provide a degree of stability and control in the lives of those suffering from schizophrenia, a chronic debilitating illness with impact so profound that it accounts for 2-3% of UK national health spending. Similarly, the impact of medication in alleviating the burden on individuals, their families and society of depression, which has a lifetime prevalence of up to I in 6 of the population, is substantial. Psychotropic drugs greatly improve the prognosis of other common conditions such as anxiety disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and bipolar affective disorder. In this chapter the following drug groups are considered


• Antipsychotics ('neuroleptics')

• Mood stabilisers

• Drugs for anxiety and sleep disorders

• Drugs for Alzheimer's dementia

• Drugs for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Writing prescriptions is easy, understanding people is hard. (Franz Kafka, 1883-1924)

In 1940 psychotropic medication was limited to chloral hydrate, barbiturates and amphetamine. By contrast, the modern-day formulary lists almost 100 psychotropic drugs, with efficacious treatment available for the vast majority of psychiatric diagnoses and in all phases of life. Psychotropic medication has been a key factor in accelerating the closure of Victorian 'asylums' such that the psychiatric inpatient population is now a tiny fraction of its 1954 peak of 148,000 in England and Wales.

Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.

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