ADHD & Psychopharmacology

Posted byadmin Posted onJuly 8, 2023 Comments0

Psychoactive drugs target specific receptors in the nervous system to effect extensive changes in the psychological functions. The interaction between psychoactive drugs and the target receptors is known as drug action. The resultant change in psychological or physiological function is known as drug effect (Adler, Reingold, Morrill, & Wilen, 2006). Psychopharmacology entails an extensive research in a broad range of drug classes including stimulants and antidepressants. These drugs modify or alter one or more functions of synaptic transmission. Neurotransmitters provide the medium through which neurons communicate. Therefore, psychoactive drugs affect the brain by modifying this communication. The effects of these drugs vary from: [ 1] acting as a precursor for the neurotransmitter; [ 2] restraining neurotransmitter synthesis; [ 3] barring postsynaptic receptors among others (Adler et al., 2006).

Psychoactive drugs also use hormones to affect communications between cells. Hormones are known to travel significant distances before reaching their target body cells. Therefore, the endocrine system is another target of the psychoactive drugs. The psychoactive drugs can: [ 1] change secretion of many hormones; [2] modify the behavioral reactions to drugs. Some of the hormones in the body are known to have psychoactive effect by themselves (Adler et al., 2006)

Psychopharmacological substances

The opiate drugs have been identified as one of the psychopharmacological substances. The opiates form a class of narcotic analgesics. They are mainly use to help patients overcome pain without causing unconsciousness. However, they do not lead relaxation and sleep. It has also been noted that overdose of this drug can result to death. The ability of this drug to reduce pain relies on a complex set of neuronal pathways at various points along the spinal cord. Opiate drugs reduce transmission of pain alerts to the brain (Bouffard, Hechtman, Minde, & laboni-Kassab, 2003).

The other type of Psychopharmacological substances is hypnotics. Hypnotics are mainly used to treat sleep disorders. Studies indicate that hypnotics are greatly preferred to other sedatives because they are less addictive. The third type of psychopharmacological substances is hallucinogens. Hallucinogens lead to synesthesia sensations, making the user imagine things that do not exist. The other type is the Benzodiazepines commonly used to decrease anxiety symptoms, insomnia or even manage alcohol withdrawal alcohol symptoms (Banaschewski, Roessner, Dittmann, Santosh, & Rothenberger, 2004).

Antidepressants decrease symptoms of mood swings. The common types of antidepressant drugs are the Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), Tricyclic antidepressants and Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).One of the most important factor to consider while choosing an antidepressant is there side effects. The antipsychotic substances are divided into first generation and second generation. The antidepressants are known to affect movement of the user (Adler et al., 2006).

On stimulants, cocaine is one of the most known stimulants. Cocaine is known to cause increased alertness, heightened confidence, decreased fatigue and a general sense of well being. There are also several side effects which are associated with the abuse of cocaine. It has been found out that abuse of cocaine leads to anxiety, total insomnia, irritability, psychotic symptomatology (Banaschewski et al., 2003). Another common type of stimulant is known as Amphetamines. Numerous forms of this stimulant are used to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] (Banaschewski et al., 2003).

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that commonly affects children and can persist into adulthood for some. Children suffering from ADHD have difficulties paying attention. They are unable to follow simple instructions and are quickly bored or devastated by responsibilities. They also seemed not to relax and they act at the spur of the moment. They rarely do stop to think before engaging into action. This can be argued that it is a common behavior with all the children; however, it is conspicuous in children suffering from add symptoms. Studies indicate that children suffering from ADHD perform poorly in school (Handen, Taylor, & Tumuluru, 2011).

However, it is important to note that ADHD not only affects children, but also adults. Its symptoms in adults include problems with time management, poor organization skills, and employment problems among others (Asherson, Chen, Craddock, & Taylor, 2007). Other symptoms include poor anger management, relationship problems due to low self-esteem among others.

The precise cause of ADHD has not been identified, although there is ongoing research on the human brain to establish the cause. Some of the factors that are linked with this disease include:

[1] Heredity; ADHD has been observed to run in families. This implies that children have a high probability of inheriting ADHD from their parents;

[2] chemical imbalance of brain chemicals whereby researchers argue that imbalance of brain chemicals especially the ones that are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses may be a contributing factor in the development of ADHD symptoms; and

[3] Changes in the area of the brain especially areas which control attention may also be another contributing factor (Bouffard et al., 2003).

Psychopharmacological Treatment of ADHD

ADHD is a disorder that can result in several secondary problems. Psychopharmacological treatments are necessary in the treatment of ADHD. Stimulant treatment has for many years been confirmed to be effective and safe. One of the first stimulants to be used to manage ADHD is Amphetamine. Recent studies indicate that the soundness of ADHD diagnosis is now recognized despite the fact that its prevalence and the level of sustained symptoms as well as the identification of symptoms in adults remain disputed (Asherson et al., 2007).


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