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Brain Function and Psychotropic Drugs$
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Heather Ashton

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780192622426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192622426.001.0001

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Drugs acting on arousal and sleep systems

Drugs acting on arousal and sleep systems

(p.55) 4. Drugs acting on arousal and sleep systems
Brain Function and Psychotropic Drugs

Heather Ashton

Oxford University Press

Nearly all psychotropic drugs act at some point on arousal and sleep systems in the brain. Central nervous system stimulants and depressants are classified according to whether they increase or decrease cortical arousal; anxiolytics and tranquillizers are designated by their effects on emotional arousal; antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants have specialized effects on arousal and sleep systems, and these systems are also affected by a wide range of other drugs from antihistamines to antihypertensive agents. This chapter considers some drugs used therapeutically for their effects on arousal: central nervous system depressants, classed as hypnotics, sedatives, and anxiolytics; and certain stimulants, the sympathomimetic amines and xanthines.

Keywords:   sleep system, arousal system, psychotropic drugs, central nervous system, anxiolytics, hypnotics, xanthines, sedatives, sympathomimetic amines

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