The Psychological Behind the Sedative: Can It Help People with Anxiety?

The use of sedatives is somewhat of a Swiss Army knife of antidepressant medicines. In fact about 40 percent of people with anxiety disorders currently take sedatives according to an American Psychiatric Association survey. These sedatives are a family of sedatives that improve cognitive functions in people with certain mental conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Sedatives treat anxiety disorders but are also the most commonly prescribed medications for mood disorders in the United States.

A piece of research published in Pharmacotherapy explores sedative effects on mood regulation.

Psychologists at the University of Copenhagen have published a new article detailing the use of sedatives by patients with major depressive disorders. The article is part of the Ph. D. thesis of Dr. Hans Huber who was also the lead author of the selected sample and the Ph. D. student who conducted the scientific study.

Drs. Huber and Ronaldo Abreu Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Copenhagen and Professor of Nutrition and Public Health at the University of Zurich investigated sedative effects in patients with major depressive disorders. First the researchers chose the patients who did not respond to the standard of care to treat the patients depression. They divided them into two groups: those who responded to a dopamine antagonist and placebo and those who responded to a dopamine agonist. The findings were compared with the results of the participants depressive counterparts.

This was a very heterogenous group which allows for the selection of the best sample of key participants. Then the researchers randomly selected those patients who responded to the antagonist or the dopamine agonist. The answer to the question of how sedative effects affect mood was obtained without any intervention in the treatment group.