Psychotropic medications are medications used to treat mental disorders. They may also sometimes be referred to as psychiatric medications or psychotherapeutic medications.
What Types of Mental Disorders Can be Treated with Medication?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder and is likely caused by a combination of genetic, biologic, and environmental factors. In terms of the biologic basis, there is an abnormality in neurotransmitters in the brain.
Antidepressants are medications commonly used to treat depression.
Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals in the brain that affect mood and emotional response. Antidepressant medications work to balance these chemicals.
Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and Dopamine are 3 neurotransmitters that are involved in depression.
Types of Medications Used to Treat Depression
Antidepressant medications are grouped based on which neurotransmitter in the brain is being affected. Groups include:
SSRI’s Selective Seretonin Reuptake Inhibitor
SNRI’s Seretonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
NDRI’s Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors
Tricyclic Antidepressants (Decreased reuptake of Seretonin and Norepinephrine )
MAOIs Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (Increases concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain)
Combined reuptake inhibitors and receptor blockers
Antidepressant Medication Chart
Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
Combined MAOIs Tricyclic NDRIs SNRIs SSRIs
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder was formerly called “manic depression”. It is characterized by moods that swing between periods of mania (exaggerated euphoria and/or irritability) and depression. Chemical imbalance is a key component in Bipolar Disorder.
Types of Medications Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder
Mood Stabilizers (Anticonvulsant or anti-seizure medications are also used as mood stabilizers)
The most important message to send to a woman who is pregnant and is taking psychotropic medications or is suffering from a psychiatric disorder and is considering medications is that she should Discuss the risks and benefits with her doctor.
Pregnancy and Psychotropic Medications
Research on the use of psychotropic medication on pregnant women is limited
Just because a woman is pregnant does not mean that she cannot take medications or that she should stop taking medications—she needs to discuss the risks and benefits with her doctor
A woman who is pregnant and taking psychiatric medication should not stop taking the medication unless she consults with her doctor
Breastfeeding and Medication
Some medication may be passed on to an infant through breast milk. A woman should Always discuss the risks and benefits of taking medication while breastfeeding with her doctor.