In the old days, people rely on medicine men, oracles, and even the position of the stars to find a cure for various illnesses. Much for what was considered as medicine were merely based on myth and superstition. But with the advent of modern medicine, people became more aware of scientific means of diagnosing and treating illnesses. Medications, or drugs prepared in laboratories, are widely used for their convenience and effectiveness. For many years, we have used different kinds of medications in order to ease and alleviate the pain we feel in our bodies. It has become a necessity for each home to have at least a couple of basic medications for cough and colds, fever and flu, headaches, and so on. Having these medications at hand can prevent further aggravation of an ailment when dealing with hospitals, drugstores, and doctors.
An interesting kind of drug medication would be the class of psychoactive medication. Also called psychotropic substances, this specific drug is a chemical substance that acts on a person’s central nervous system wherein it alters the brain’s function, causing short term changes with regards to a person’s mood, perception, consciousness, and behavior. These drugs can be used recreationally (entheogens) for ritual and spiritual purposes, or therapeutically for medication. Since this would be the only kind of medication that can be used for recreation, it can sometimes be abused because of the mind altering effect that it can bring, making the person feel more pleasant as he was before.
But in a more medical sense, psychoactive medication are often helpful in treating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, among many others. Although these psychoactive drugs do not affect the underlying cause of these disorders, they can serve symptomatic relief for patients who wants to live a normal life.
Anxiety is seen as the continuous tension, nervousness, or panic caused by stress or any other psychological causes. This disorder is seen in many, and is often resolved by taking psychoactive medication. Anti anxiety drugs are used to give relaxation or to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking and palpitations. Causing such relaxation and sedation, a certain class of psychoactive medication called “benzodiazepines” are included in anxiety medications that depress the person’s central nervous system. “Beta blockers” also contribute to these medications, allowing the suppression of physical symptoms. Having depression can interfere with a person’s daily activities, and when this situation starts to stay there for a time, a person may need medical help. Psychoactive medications can be appropriate for this kind of disorder. Antidepressants would be the specific kind of medication, offering the increase of the neurotransmitters’ level in the brain. More often than not, it takes some time (from six to eight weeks) before these antidepressants take effect.
When a person has trouble sleeping, they may be experiencing insomnia. Both anxiety and depression can cause insomnia, among many others. When this specific cause is known and treated, the person’s sleep patterns generally return to normal. When insomnia gets persistent, sleeping pills may be appropriate. Most sleeping pills cause sedation by depressing the central nervous system (more likely as those of anxiety medications). Although a person can sleep while under these medications, the sleep induced by the drug will not be the same as of natural sleep, since the drug suppresses brain activity.
These are just examples of how psychoactive medications are commonly used in our everyday lives. It is important to know and be well-informed about every aspect of the medication, to prevent any side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and any negative impact on the body and brain itself.
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