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Terminology for Medications That Help Treat Mental Disorders

Terminology for Medications That Help Treat Mental Disorders
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  • 0:01 Medications That Treat…
  • 0:47 Antidepressants &…
  • 1:55 Anxiolytics,…
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Like any other disease or disorder anywhere in the body, mental disorders need to be treated for the good of the patient. Here, we will define some of the general medications used to treat mental disorders.

Medications to Treat Mental Disorders

Scarily enough, there are people out there who do not believe that mental disorders are an actual illness and that people with things like depression should just 'suck it up.' It's such an arcane thought, though. If your arm can suffer an injury, then so can your brain and mind. That's not a tough thought, is it? And like you'd need to take pain medication for a broken or scalded arm, there also have to be medications that treat mental disorders.

Any drug that affects the mind is known as a psychotropic drug, where 'psych/o' means 'mind' and '-tropic' means 'being attracted to something else,' which in this case is the mind.

Let's go over some of these drugs used to help treat mental disorders.

Antidepressants & Antipsychotics

An antidepressant is a drug that helps to prevent or relieve depression. Depression is a mood disorder that includes a loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, lethargy, despair, sadness, a feeling of being worthless, and thoughts of suicide.

There are many different kinds of antidepressants, including:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

The 'anti-' in 'antidepressant' stands for 'against' or 'opposing' something. Obviously, in this case, it means opposing depression. The prefix 'anti-' is also found in antipsychotic drugs, drugs that treat psychotic disorders. These disorders are characterized by a loss of touch with reality, such as delusions and hallucinations. As a reminder, the combining form of 'psych/o,' stands for 'mind.' Examples of antipsychotic drugs include risperidone and aripiprazole, and they are used to treat conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Anxiolytics, Stimulants, and Mood Stabilizers

Another drug that may be given to help a person with a mental disorder is an anxiolytic, a drug that relieves anxiety. 'Anxi/o' stands for 'anxiety,' and '-lytic' implies the 'destruction' of something. So, these are drugs that destroy anxiety. Examples of anxiolytics include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam, and lorazepam.

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