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In your initial post, describe what you believe are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of using the medications to treat psychological disorders. 

Using medication to treat psychological disorders has many strengths along with weaknesses. I feel that understanding psychological disorders can be difficult for some individuals. I can speak for this first hand because until I began battling depression, I did not understand this disorder. Although I do not currently use psychoactive drugs to treat my depression, there are various medications that exist to treat this disorder along with many others. Using medications to treat psychoactive disorders helps individuals cope and live a more normal life. They help with the health and well-being of the individual. Although the medication itself may not cure the disorder, it helps with the treatment of symptoms associated with the disorder. On the flip side, sometimes mental disorders may just be a phase in an individual’s life where the use of psychoactive drugs may be necessary. For example, individuals who have encountered a very traumatic experience may cause a mental health disorder such as depression. Various treatment plans, which may include a combination of therapy and psychoactive drugs, may assist in this difficult time of dealing with depression. Over time the individual may begin healing, causing them to no longer need the use of medication. Also, the use of various medications may assist with symptoms related to ADHD. As the child ages and goes through various developmental stages, the use of medication may not be needed.  

The use of psychoactive drugs is aimed to alter the chemicals in the brain which may be causing symptoms related to various disorders, but the use of medication can be harmful and dangerous. For example, the use of antidepressant drugs may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts. Various drugs can also cause developmental damage, especially in youth. Psychoactive drug use can also become addicting and dependency may occur. The use of medication may lead to other symptoms or disorders as well. Prescribing medication to treat mental disorders should be used with caution and planned out, assessing the pros and cons.

Evaluate the employment of psychoactive drugs in the treatment of disorders over the lifespan from both an ethical and risk-benefits perspective.

Treating disorders using medication over a lifespan may provide risks and benefits. Society, environments, and the culture where medication is being used to treat a variety of mental disorders is sending a message that self-medicating is acceptable, especially in children (Gup, 2013). Children then grow up with this exposure and using medication is carried with them throughout a lifetime. The individual may have a perspective and understanding that psychoactive drugs are acceptable to use anytime. Whenever they need to alter their feelings, just pop a pill, have a drink, or combine various medications to get a desired feeling. Overtime, dependency and addiction may occur and may lead to death. However, the benefits of using medication may alleviate symptoms which may be necessary to function in every day life. Individuals, including children need to have an understanding the risk and benefits of using medication and that sometimes medication is necessary and should be used. In addition, the use of medication to treat when unnecessary is on the rise. In fact, pharmaceutical companies are encouraging physicians to prescribe medications other than what the drug is designed for and medications are doing more harm than benefits (Dolan, 2011). Every individual including health care professionals, patients, and parents should be held to ethical standards. Prescribing medication should only be done when necessary and psychoactive drugs should be used properly, understanding the risks and benefits involved.

Summarize the theories of psychiatric disease and the scientific rationale behind its treatment through the employment of drug therapies.

Several theories exist that provide a better understanding of psychiatric diseases. The cause of psychiatric diseases varies amongst individuals as well as the illness. Mental illnesses are very broad and affect individuals differently. Some may experience minor symptoms while others may experience major symptoms. Although the cause of psychiatric disease continues to be researched and may not be completely understood, there are various factors that contribute to the development of the disorders. The development of psychiatric diseases can be caused from environmental, biological, and psychological factors. Sometimes a combination of factors may lead to the disorder, which makes it difficult to discover the exact cause. Therefore, a combination of treatments, rather than one treatment option may provide benefits. Results of a study on depression using psychological therapy treatment versus drug therapy indicated that psychotherapy treatment was shown to be slightly more effective (Advokat, Comaty and Julien, 2014, p. 603). Thus, it can be concluded that objective and scientific ananlysis is crititcal when trying to determine the best option for psychological and pharmacological treatment as treatment of psychiatric disease is complex (Advokat, Comaty and Julien, 2014, p. 603). Depending on several factors, a combination of treatments may be the best option.    

Explain what you believe to be the greatest challenges in the use of psychoactive medications over the next several years. Support your statements with references and logical arguments.

We live in a society and culture where psychoactive drug use is becoming more and more common. According to Advokat, Comaty and Julien (2014) the use of psychotic drugs amongst adults grew 22% over a recent 9-year span with antipsychotic prescription drugs and adults using ADHD drugs being the largest increase for use (p. 592). In the generation of our children, mixed messages are being sent often times indicating that when life gets hard, using a substance to cope should be used. I think it will be very difficult trying to help individuals understand when using psychoactive drugs is acceptable and unacceptable. The legalization of marijuana indicates that individuals have different view-points. While for various reasons, some may feel that using marijuana is acceptable and others may not.  Psychoactive drugs are also becoming easier to obtain, which makes it difficult to monitor and keep off the streets. In addition, more mental illnesses are being discovered and treatment options are often not successful. Mental illnesses are becoming more and more common amongst our youth and elderly alike. With mental illnesses becoming more prevalent, I feel that health care professionals may be having a difficult time diagnosing mental illnesses and understanding when prescribing medication is necessary. Therefore, policies and guidelines should be in place for individuals to follow. Advokat, Comaty and Julien (2014) state psychiatric professionals along with pharmaceutical companies are responsible for promoting drugs that are not effective or appropriate, causing mental illnesses to augment (p. 596). Since there is no “one size fits all”, professionals should strive to do their best professionally and ethically to correctly diagnose, follow proper policies and guidelines, and aim to implement successful treatment plans in order to benefit the health and well-being of patients.  

References

Advokat, C. D., Comaty, J. E., & Julien, R. M. (2014). Julien’s primer of drug action: A comprehensive guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs (13th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Dolan, E. W.  (2011, August 7). Antidepressant use increasing among those with no psychiatric diagnosis. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. The Raw Story. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/07/antidepressant-use-increasing-among-those-with-no-psychiatric-diagnosis/

Gup, T. (2013, April 2). Diagnosis: Human (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.html?_r=2&

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