In my research of psychotropic drugs, I chose two that I knew a little about through some friends and family members taking them. I’ve learned through observing these people and research that psychotropic drugs can be very helpful but can also come with some serious side effects. The first medicine that I studied about was Adderall. I chose to study about this medicine because I have a younger cousin that has been prescribed this medicine to suppress the symptoms of ADHD. He seems to do well on it though the side effects of this medicine are very evident in him. Adderall is one of the most popular name brand medications for children and adults that suffer with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Adderall is also occasionally prescribed by doctors to treat narcolepsy. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960, Adderall has since been used to treat the symptoms of ADHD by increasing the attention span of the patients and helping them control their daily activities. It also eases the symptoms of narcolepsy by preventing the sudden attacks of daytime sleepiness. Adderall is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. The drug works by stimulating brain activity and increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. It has proven to ease symptoms by helping the patient focus on everyday tasks and calm them down significantly. Adderall is an amphetamine with a chemical makeup that is very similar to the makeup of methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy).
Once this medication gets to the brain, it mimics the actions of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine, in higher quantities. Dopamine brings a rush of pleasure to the nucleus accumbens, an area in the forebrain just behind the eyes. Epinephrine taps into the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers alertness and focus.Though this drug can be very helpful to those that need it, the side effects could be life threatening. The list of common side effects of this drug includes nervousness, dizziness, restlessness, headache, stomach ache, decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, and loss of interest in sex.
More serious side effects include seizures, chest pain, severe weakness or numbness, uncontrolled movements or voice sounds, changes in vision, and trouble breathing. Adderall can also increase the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart problems.Before prescribing this drug, doctors must check children for any heart problems. Any child with a history of a heart defect or heart problems can be put at risk for sudden death if the drug is taken. One should consult a doctor before taking Adderall if they are pregnant or over the age of 65. The drug should never be taken while breastfeeding. Adderall can also increase the risk of other mental health problems.
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other aggressive, violent, and unusual behaviors are common side effects of this drug. It can also cause hallucinations and the patient believing things that are not real.A rapidly increasing number of children and teenagers are being diagnosed with ADHD, which has resulted in the growing number of Adderall prescriptions.
However, Adderall has become readily available to those seeking to abuse it. Doctors have been known to prescribe Adderall to patients who have not been diagnosed with ADHD or narcolepsy. Studies show that prescriptions for ADHD medications have increased by over 45 percent between 2002 and 2010. In 2010, the total number of Adderall prescriptions has topped 18 million. Young people without ADHD are taking this drug to get better grades in school, and putting themselves at risk for some potentially deadly side effects. This drug has worked its way up to being one of the top drugs used by college students.
This “smart pill” is believed to increase learning ability, but is not a help to those who do not suffer from ADHD.Those who take Adderall regularly can easily become addicted. Those who have a history of abusing drugs or alcohol are at higher risk of an addiction. If the patient suddenly stops taking Adderall, it is very possible they will have withdrawals. The symptoms of these withdrawals can include extreme fatigue, irritability, and a variety of sleep disorders.
Overall, this drug can be helpful in many ways but also hurtful. Seeing the possible side effects of this medication can make one wonder if taking that medication is worth dealing with the side effects of it.The second medication that I researched was Xanax. I chose to study about this drug because I have personally known many people who were prescribed this medication. I also know of many people who were not prescribed Xanax that have abused the use of it for many years.
I was very curious to see what Xanax really was and what it does to make so many people interested in abusing this drug. Xanax is a very popular brand name of alprazolam. This medication is prescribed to patients suffering with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety that is associated with depression. Though not the most common medication, it can also be used to treat depression.Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981, Xanax has become one of the most popular drugs to treat general anxiety disorder. This class of drug is called benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), resulting in sedative, sleep-inducing, anti-anxiety properties. Xanax is a central nervous system depressant. It slows brain activity. The medicine works by increasing the GABA activity, curbing the patient’s feeling of anxiousness and allowing the brain to restore its natural balance.
Benzodiazepines are available in many different forms, but the tablet form that Xanax offers seems to be the most popular. Xanax has some side effects that are not exactly life-threatening, but they can be very dangerous. Common side effects of Xanax are: light-headedness, drowsiness, insomnia, slurred speech, memory problems, and impaired coordination. It is said that the side effects of this medication usually happen within the first few days of taking it, and usually go away.
Xanax does not react well with many other medications, so the patient must inform their doctor of any other prescriptions or over the counter medications that they may be taking. The patient should also consult their doctor of any allergies to medications so that they are not risking an allergic reaction to any of the active ingredients of Xanax.Xanax should never be taken with other medications that contain opioids.
The FDA warns patients of some serious risks associated with using Xanax or other benzodiazepines at the same time as opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Taking opioids and benzodiazepines together can result in extreme drowsiness, a coma, or even death.Taking Xanax with other medications that make you drowsy should not be done if the patient should need to drive or operate machinery. Mixing Xanax with other medications can make you very sleepy and can enhance the common side effects of the medication.
Xanax should not be taken if the patient is pregnant or nursing. This medication can harm a growing fetus, and can cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Xanax has not been proven to be safe for children and teenagers under 18 years of age. One interesting thing that I found about Xanax were the risks associated with eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while on this medication.
Current assumptions are that it is the flavonoids in grapefruit juice that disrupt the metabolic cycle that normally removes Xanax from your bloodstream in hours. This can cause a prolonged reaction to Xanax, and enhanced side effects. Xanax can be a very habit-forming drug for those with and without general anxiety disorder. Xanax is among one of the most highly abused drugs out there. Abuse and addiction to Xanax is associated with depression and aggressive or impulsive behavior. Xanax seems to be abused because it relaxes the patient, and gives them a very quick high.
From personal observation, the amount of young people becoming addicted to this drug is growing rapidly. The stress of school and work seem to be too much for some teens, and this drug gives them some relief and relaxation from their daily responsibilities.If one should stop taking Xanax, they should consult a doctor first. Daily dosage of the medication should be gradually reduced under the supervision of a doctor to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, seizures, excessive sweating, and aggressive behavior. Suddenly stopping the daily intake of Xanax can make the patient’s condition much worse.Though both psychotropic drugs have some beneficial effects on patients that suffer from these disorders, they also have some serious risks. I think most medications can be good if they are used properly and in moderation. Abuse of these drugs can result in some harmful mental side effects that, to me, are worse than the condition. One must be careful with these medications to be sure that they do not abuse them in any was as both are very habit-forming. I have personally seen these drugs work and I think that if the abuse and addictions can be controlled, that these drugs are essential to the treatments of ADHD, anxiety, depression, narcolepsy, and other conditions that effect the mental health of today’s children, teenagers, and adults alike.Sources:Dore, Derek.
“What Is Xanax (Alprazolam)?” EverydayHealth.com, 10 May 2017, www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/xanax”Adderall (Adderall XR) – Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions – Drugs.
” EverydayHealth.com, 28 Apr. 2014, www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/adderall.