Psychiatric Medications:
The Six Main Classes

This page discusses psychiatric medications.

If you suffer from mental illness, you have likely looked at different medications from time to time.

What, specifically, are these medications?

In short, they are synthetically produced chemical compounds, which are intended to have an effect on your brain chemistry; normalizing it as if you did not suffer from your particular condition.

Let’s take a look at the six major types of chemicals employed in treating mental disorders:

  • Anti-depressants – These compounds treat the various types of mood disorders which leave a patient feeling depressed.  These disorders include clinical depression itself, as well as related problems like anxiety, BPD, dysthymia, or even eating disorders. There are different types of antidepressants, including:

    • MAOIs - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

    • SARI - Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitors

    • NDRI - Norepinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors

    • TCAs - Tricyclic Antidepressants

    • SNRI - Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

    • SSRI - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

  • Stimulants – This class of drug is designed to treat those who suffer from things like attention deficit disorder (or ADHD as well), narcolepsy, or as appetite control or suppression enhancements. Because stimulant medications are Schedule II controlled substances, the doctor must give the patient a written prescription each time and refills are not allowed (by law).

  • Anti-psychotics – These powerful psychiatric medications are prescription only and only given under supervised care by licensed psychiatrists. This is because they have serious side effects in and of themselves, and are therefore only used on the most serious of conditions, such as mania, psychosis, or schizophrenia.

  • Mood stabilizers – Another potent class of drug, these are intended for the treatment of conditions like bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. Though not as severe as psychosis, these disorders are still quite serious themselves.

  • Anxiolytics – If you suffer from nervousness, anxiety related disorders, or panic attacks this class of psychiatric medication is the one you are looking for.

  • Depressants – Our final class of psychiatric medication is the depressants. These find their usage as sedatives (these help a person sleep), and in applications like anesthesiology.

This brief overview of the different types of psychiatric medication is meant to provide you with an introduction and some basic information about the different classes of medications.

Make sure to speak with a qualified doctor and other medical personnel to get information on how best to treat your own mental illness, should you suffer from one.

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