Chapter

Drugs acting on arousal and sleep systems

Heather Ashton

in Brain Function and Psychotropic Drugs

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780192622426
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724749 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192622426.003.0004
Drugs acting on arousal and sleep systems

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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

Chapter.  8833 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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