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Used primarily to treat insomnia as well as a wide variety of anxiety disorders, tranquilizers are among the most commonly prescribed—and abused—psychiatric medications in the United States.
Although clinical descriptions of psychotic patients—especially schizophrenics—date back to at least 1400 b.c., prior to 1950, effective drugs for the treatment of psychotic patients were virtually nonexistent.
Reserpine, an alkaloid, and the active ingredient of Rauwolfia serpentina, the Indian snakeroot, was the basis of the first major tranquilizer.
Reserpine was used in the treatment of snake bites, high blood pressure, and anxiety. physician named Wilkins demonstrated the positive effects of reserpine in 1952, the drug gained instant notoriety.
Rauwolfia was long used in India for the treatment of mental illness (especially paranoia and schizophrenia) and known to medicine men and locals as the "insanity herb." And although the plant was well known in India—Ghandi sometimes sipped tea made from its leaves—Westerners paid little attention to it until an Indian physician wrote an article about it in 1943. Reserpine rapidly replaced induced insulin shock therapy (injecting patients with insulin until their blood sugar levels fall so low that the they become comatose), electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy (inducing seizures by passing an electric current through the brain), and lobotomy (making an incision in the lobe of the brain) as treatments for certain types of mental illness.
Neuroleptics inhibit dopamine nerve transmission in the frontal lobes and in the limbic system—the emotion-regulating brain structures.
Inhibiting this portion of the brain causes diffuse CNS depression and disrupts an individual's behavior entirely—reducing psychotic thoughts, perceptions, and agitation.
However, since their discovery, the use of neuroleptics has fueled an ongoing debate within the mainstream psychiatric community.
This discussion arises primarily as a result of the serious nature and unpredictability of side effects associated with these drugs.
The bromides are gastric irritants with a narrow safety margin and may cause a chronic toxicity known as bromism.
Barbiturates (a class of drugs with more effective sedative-hypnotic effects) replaced bromides in 1903.
As opposed to medications prescribed for sedation, the neuroleptics often produce signs of neurological dysfunction, such as extrapyrimidal effects (involuntary movements such as Parkinson-like tremors and other abnormal movements).Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating