The effectiveness of anticonvulsants in psychiatric disorders.

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The effectiveness of anticonvulsants in psychiatric disorders.

Grunze HC.

University of Newcastle School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, Leazes Wing, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Rd., Newcastle upon Tyne NE14LP, United Kingdom.

Anticonvulsant drugs are widely used in psychiatric indications. These include mainly alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal syndromes, panic and anxiety disorders, dementia, schizophrenia, affective disorders, bipolar affective disorders in particular, and, to some extent, personality disorders. A further area in which neurology and psychiatry overlap is pain conditions, in which some anticonvulsants, and also typical psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, are helpful. From the beginning of their psychiatric use, anticonvulsants have also been used to ameliorate specific symptoms of psychiatric disorders independently of their causality and underlying illness, eg, aggression, and, more recently, cognitive impairment, as seen in affective disorders and schizophrenia. With new anticonvulsants currently under development, it is likely that their use in psychiatry will further increase, and that psychiatrists need to learn about their differential efficacy and safety profiles to the same extent as do neurologists.

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PMID: 18472486 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]