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The psychoactive effects of psychiatric medication: the elephant in the room.

Moncrieff, J; Cohen, D; Porter, S; (2013) The psychoactive effects of psychiatric medication: the elephant in the room. J Psychoactive Drugs , 45 (5) 409 - 415. 10.1080/02791072.2013.845328. Green open access

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Abstract

The psychoactive effects of psychiatric medications have been obscured by the presumption that these medications have disease-specific actions. Exploiting the parallels with the psychoactive effects and uses of recreational substances helps to highlight the psychoactive properties of psychiatric medications and their impact on people with psychiatric problems. We discuss how psychoactive effects produced by different drugs prescribed in psychiatric practice might modify various disturbing and distressing symptoms, and we also consider the costs of these psychoactive effects on the mental well-being of the user. We examine the issue of dependence, and the need for support for people wishing to withdraw from psychiatric medication. We consider how the reality of psychoactive effects undermines the idea that psychiatric drugs work by targeting underlying disease processes, since psychoactive effects can themselves directly modify mental and behavioral symptoms and thus affect the results of placebo-controlled trials. These effects and their impact also raise questions about the validity and importance of modern diagnosis systems. Extensive research is needed to clarify the range of acute and longer-term mental, behavioral, and physical effects induced by psychiatric drugs, both during and after consumption and withdrawal, to enable users and prescribers to exploit their psychoactive effects judiciously in a safe and more informed manner.

Type: Article
Title: The psychoactive effects of psychiatric medication: the elephant in the room.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2013.845328
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2013.845328
Language: English
Additional information: © Joanna Moncrieff, David Cohen, and Sally Porter. Published with license by Taylor & Francis This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427425
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