Despite the increasing burden of mental illness, social stigma and fears about the potential mind-altering effects of psychotropic drugs prevent most persons from seeking treatment. The problem is compounded by the high rate of diagnostic uncertainty in psychiatry and psychotropic drug labels that can be as confusing as the diagnosis. The terms “anticonvulsant” and “antipsychotic” often have little to do with what is being treated, and the replacement term “mood stabilizer” is inadequate because many patients for whom mood stabilizers are prescribed do not experience any significant mood instability. This calls for a more appropriate label for these psychotropic drugs. Anticonvulsants and antipsychotics have neuroregulatory effects, and converging lines of evidence suggest that most psychiatric disorders are rooted in an inherent hyperexcitability of the neurological system—the neurons won’t shut off. Based on these observations, I propose that the terms anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, and mood stabilizer be replaced with the more pharmacologically and pathophysiologically-related term “NEUROREGULATOR.” The adoption of this descriptive, user-friendly term by prescribing clinicians and dispensing pharmacists would help avoid patient confusion and improve medication compliance by helping patients conceptualize what these drugs do in the brain and how they might be working to relieve symptoms.
Michael Raymond Binder,
Introducing the Term “Neuroregulator” in Psychiatry, American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.
Vol. 7, No. 3,
2019, pp. 66-70.
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