All in the Mind: Can Psychotropic Drugs ever make useful Medicine?
1. Understand the types of drugs that you might encounter in your personal and future professional lives.
2. Outline how some of these drugs work
3. Explain the interaction of modern society with these drugs, both legal and illegal.
All in the Mind: Can Psychotropic Drugs ever make useful Medicine?
Psychotic diseases have existed since time immemorial, and they were known to affect the human brain in one way or another. The difference between contemporary and conventional times is the approaches that are being made towards the mental diseases. In the olden days, mental illnesses were attributable to superpowers; either demonic or angelic. Mostly, one with mental illnesses was said to be possessed. However, in recent years, scientist started researching, and in their conclusion, they found out that mental illnesses are mostly biological. As such, they eliminated the possibility of mental illnesses being an action of supernatural underworking (Oxford University, 2013). In earlier years, there was the use of psychotherapy as the only form of treatment for mental illnesses. Psychotherapy, in itself, involves the use of counseling as the main treatment of the mental illnesses. Psychotherapy may involve psych education, family counseling, and interpersonal therapy that work together to ensure that the patient can get over the fact that they are mentally ill and socialise as effectively as possible with others without them endangering others or themselves. One aspect about psychotherapy that made it more appealing than biological treatments was the fact that there were no side effects to the patients. However, psychotherapy is not very useful for the severe types of mental illnesses, and they are sometimes very expensive for the patients to access them.
In a view to correct the many aspects of psychotherapy, biological treatments are used to address the expensive nature of psychotherapy and at the same time handle the more severe mental illnesses. In earlier times, there was the use of psychosurgery that aimed at ensuring that it addressed the specific symptoms to certain parts of the brain that were thought to be causing the mental disorder. The surgery was done with the aim of reducing the effect of mental disorder or eliminating the parts of the brain that are said to be causing the disorder (Itil and Soldatos, 1980). Today, most of the biological therapy that is aimed at mental disorders utilises the use of medication that is mostly prescribed by doctors. It is essential to note that, most of those who prescribe the medicines are not psychiatrists since the psychiatrists are mostly good with psychotherapy than biological therapy. However, there comes a debate of which between the two types of therapies is useful to the patients, and which of the two can make the patients feel better. There are points that show that psychotherapy is good and useful to the patients. However, at the same time, research has proven that some mental disorders are better tackled with the use of biological therapy. Psychotropic drugs are used to make medicine that is used in the making of biological drugs for mental disorders. The drugs have the ability to impact the emotional and behavioral aspects of the patients, and as such, they can alter their behaviour to the best-suited way. However, the concern that has been raised over the years is if the drugs make effective medicine for the mental illness patients. The following paper will look into the issue in a deeper sense and come up with findings that deny or suggest that psychotropic drugs make useful medicine.
Results and Findings
Psychotropic drugs are meant to alter the biological composition of the brain and as such, they treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression (Greenblatt and Shadder, 1975). However, there have been cases that have proven the fact that psychotropic drugs do not just alter what is wrong with the mind, but they may alter everything important including what the mind previously perceived and was upright. A good example is the research that was conducted by Dr. Mercola (2012), in which he found out that among the many alterations that the psychotropic medicines do to the mind include alteration in car driving skills and instincts. The doctor views the effect that the psychotropic drugs have on the mind of the patients as similar to effects that alcohol has on the brain. They both alter the mind and may reduce anxiety and depression on the part of the user. In that way, it is essential to notice the fact that as much as psychotropic drugs are useful to the mind of the patient, they may alter more than they are supposed to alter in the brain; hence, causing more harm than good to the mind of the individual user. The doctor further adds the fact that drugs such as benzodiazepines are known to alter the anxiety and insomnia level of a patient and they have been linked to many car crashes in the past and extensive research reveals that more types of psychotropic drugs also have the same effects (Frances et al., 2014). The traffic safety issue has also been discussed in the British journal of clinical pharmacology in an article by Chia-Ming et al., (2013). They were of the view that not only do the drugs alter the metabolism of the brain, but it also alters the way the brain relays its functions to the other parts of the body. Unlike alcohol, which one may consume at specific hours, the drugs are prescribed and as such they exist in the patient’s system every time, during the prescribed period, for them to function normally. However, their normal functioning comes at a cost as their driving ability is impaired (Ravera et al., 2011).
Another concern about the psychotropic drugs is their effect on children. One thing about the drugs is the fact that during their development, they were mainly meant to help the adult patients; and not children. As such, most of them may be strong for the system of children or for their brains. Research on the issue has proven that the drugs are harmful to the developing brain (Bottelier et al., 2013). Research conducted by Bottelier et al., (2013) sought to find out the effect that psychotropic drugs have on children’s brains and if the fact that the drugs are meant for adults has any effect on the development of the brains of the children and to what extent? As such, they compared the effect of the psychotropic drugs on the brains of adults and children. In their findings, the researchers pointed out the fact that, in the brain, there is a neurotransmitter known as the 5-HT that is vital in the axonal growth that leads to the projections of the 5-HT during brain development. It should also be noted that earlier research done on animal subjects had revealed the fact that any pharmacological alterations to the 5-HT in the postnatal stage may lead to abnormal growth of the 5-HT system, which is essential in brain development. By using the results of the research, it is clear that most of the psychotropic drugs hamper the brain development of children. As such, as much as they will alter the abnormal behaviour of the young children who are suffering from the mental illnesses, their brain development is hampered. On the same note, psychotropic drugs are said to be too strong for the brains of young children. It essential to note that the brains of young children may not be strong enough to handle the effects or the alterations brought about by the psychotropic drugs; hence, the process of development becomes slow. Brain development is essential for the treatment of mental illnesses as it ensures that the healing process of the damaged part of the brain is made effective by replacing it with the development of the brain. At the same time, brain development becomes vital since children need to develop their brains and reason like adults or reason in accordance with their brain capacity. However, the use of the psychotropic drugs makes that difficult and it impairs the 5-HT that would normally help the brain to develop and be wary of the developing environment (Ford et al., 2015).
The reasons that are against the use of psychotropic drugs focus on their effect on the same brain that the psychotropic drugs are meant to heal. However, as much as they affect the brain, the drugs, at the same time, affect other aspects of the human system that are vital for healthy living. The first such effect is the impact that the antidepressants have on the body of the patient. According to Jonas et al., (2013) one main effect of the antidepressants is the fact that they lead to reduction in size of the arteries that make the patients vulnerable to cardiac related problems. The reduction in size of the arteries may cause cardiac arrests and stroke to the patients. On the same note, the drugs are said to lead to suicidal thoughts and sometimes feelings of antisocial and violent behaviours (Mercola, 2012). One main thing that makes it wise for people to opt for psychotherapy is the fact that some of the biological drugs make the patients to have antisocial behaviour that sometimes turns violent. In real sense, the drugs should eliminate the abnormality aspect about an individual and make it possible for them to relate to others in the expected ways. However, the drugs make them to behave violently. In other cases, they may turn suicidal and think the only way they can save themselves is by dying. On the same note, the drugs are said to block the mind to some aspects of life that the drugs are meant to prevent. However, the prevention comes at a cost of ignoring some major parts of the brain that are later on affected by the drugs. As such, by treating one mental illness, the drugs cause another mental illness (Kato et al., 2013).
There are also other mild effects of the psychotropic drugs on the health and body of the individual who is under medication. One such effect is the fact that it leads to weight gain in the first few months of medication. According to Dent et al., (2012) the drugs will lead to weight gain to those who use it more so the second generation antipsychotics are said to be affected more by the weight gain due to the use of the psychotropic drugs. Antidepressants and, sometimes, mood stabilizers are said to contain chemicals that are responsible for the weight gain. There is also a risk of leukocytopenia, which leads to fewer white blood cells that are essential in building up the immunity of the human body. Fewer white blood cells will mean that the body will be more exposed to diseases. As such, the medication makes one vulnerable to contract other diseases. There is also an argument that has gained root in recent years that suggest that psychotropic drugs may lead to the diabetes mellitus type II disease. The disease is said to be evident more so for those suffering from the bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (Baldesarrini et al., 2015). As noted earlier, the same drugs will also cause the reduction of white blood cells which can be said to be a direct cause of the vulnerability of the patients to diabetes. Lastly, recent research has proved that the psychotropic drugs do not actually treat the disorders in the brain of the individual, but block their manifestation. As such, the disorder is still there but it cannot manifest itself. Additionally, they tend to affect the very areas they are meant to treat.
Discussion and Conclusion
From the above findings and results, it is safe to say that there are certain mental illnesses that are best treated by the use of biological therapy rather than the use of psychotherapy due to the expensive nature of psychotherapy and its availability. However, the question that always arises is the useful nature of the biological drugs that are used to make medicine and are meant to treat some of the mental illnesses. ‘Useful’ in this context seeks to understand whether they are effective in the long run and if they are medicine. There is a common saying in the clinic and medical world that ‘all medicines are drugs, but not all drugs are medicine.’ The same saying can be used in the context of the psychotropic drugs. What the drugs are meant to do is not what they do. In that, they cause other problems to the patients that are not meant to be there since again it becomes difficult to solve the problems. As noted in the findings, psychotropic drugs lead to impairment of judgment just as alcohol when it comes to driving. A normal and effective medicine should not leave someone that uses them at danger. In fact, normally a person suffering from mental illnesses will be advised not to drive; hence, the medicine they use should make them drive safely and not put them at a risk of causing harm to themselves or others.
Psychotropic drugs are said to cause slow mental development in children that is caused by the alteration of the 5-HT; a vital neurotransmitter. At the same time, the drugs are said to make the patient vulnerable to cardiac arrests and type II diabetes. Additionally, the drug is said to kill some of the white blood cells that are vital for the immunity of the body. As much as psychotropic drugs help the patient in reducing the effects and symptoms of mental illnesses, they also affect the life of the patient, which raises questions about the medicinal nature of the psychotropic drugs. As such, the useful nature of the drugs as medicine to treat mental illness is also questionable. As stated in the above findings, most of the psychotropic drugs are said to alter the anxiety level, insomnia level, and depression level. The word that is used by many doctors is ‘alter’ and not ‘treat’. As such the drugs block the manifestation of the many symptoms of mental illnesses. In other words, the drugs do not treat mental illnesses but biologically alter the way that they are manifested. As a recommendation in the future, scientist and biologist should look for a way that ensures the drugs treat the mental illnesses. And if the drugs cannot treat the illnesses, then look for a way to stick to psychotherapy and ensure that it is made available and at relatively lower prices. On the same note, something ought to be done about the many side effects of the psychotropic drugs since they are causing more harm than good.
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