Psychopharmacology and Mental Health

Psychopharmacology and Mental Health

The drug CPZs chemical makeup was used to make antipsychotic drugs and lead to the development of other ways to properly sedate people who suffered from psychosis (Linda, 2017). These original antipsychotics, such as CPZ, caused the occurrence of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) or movement disorders (Linda, 2017). They worked by blocking DA receptors, therefore increasing DA release, and relieving psychotic symptoms (Linda, 2017). Approaching this problem of EPS from excessive DA blockade, atypical antipsychotics were created, combining both DA and 5-HT blockade to increase free DA in the synapse (Linda, 2017). One atypical antipsychotic drug created was Seroquel.

Seroquel, as well as many other commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs, is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat many serious cases of psychosis such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dementia, and may be used off label for other neurological disorders that have an unstable mood component such as major depression and in some cases anxiety (Dine, 2015). Atypical is defined as a second-generation antipsychotic medication that is FDA approved to treat certain psychiatric conditions (Dine, 2015). While seroquel has less EPS occurrences than other atypical antipsychotics, it is considered a sedative and causes weight gain (Linda, 2017). Because of the drugs sedative effects, it is occasionally prescribed to patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to help with sleep (Linda, 2017). Seroquel acts on D2 receptors and 5-HT2A receptors as an antagonist to get the desired effect.

This combination of medications decreases mesolimbic and dopaminergic pathway hyperactivity, therefore acting as a D1 receptor agonist in the PFC and improving NMDA synaptic transmission (Brisch, 2014, and Linda, 2017). Once a patient continuously takes Seroquel, it is not an easy process to stop because it can lead to withdrawal effects, and a possible return to the original problem (Hager, 2015). In fact, once the brain accommodates to the everyday dosage of the drug, if abruptly stopped, the new equilibrium that has developed will cease, causing a new imbalance and new series of problems (Hager, 2015). The common withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, tremors and muscle twitching (Hager, 2015). Sometimes these withdrawal effects from Seroquel can occur for months to years (Hager, 2015). In conclusion, Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic that is effective in reducing the symptoms of psychosis, but there can be serious negative consequences.


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Christy and Brigitte LewisChristy Lewis holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Professional School of Psychology.. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has counseled for a combined 17 years in several clinical and medical settings and has offered career/life coaching for an additional 10 years. Christy is also Board Certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback through BCIA, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance organization.Brigitte graduated in August 2020 from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. She is currently working toward her BCN (Board Certification in Neurofeedback) certification. Brigitte currently works at the Biofeedback, Education, & Training Center in Plano, Texas as a Sleep/Health Coach and Clinical Intake Coordinator. Sleep/Health Coaching includes providing new clients with educational information regarding behavioral changes and sleep hygiene to help improve overall perceived sleep quality. In the future, Brigitte plans to attend graduate school to study Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on sleep quality and how it affects overall health.

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