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Tranquilizers - Anxiety, Acute Anxiety, Chronic Anxiety, Treatment For Anxiety, Benzodiazepines, Action, Choice Of Tranquilizers

agents major minor drugs

The medical use of drugs to reduce or relieve anxiety has given rise to a group of medications called an tianxiety agents. These agents include anxiolytics, tranquilizers, and sedatives.

Tranquilizers were formerly grouped as either "minor" tranquilizers or "major" tranquilizers. The word major stands for "major psychiatric illness," not heavily sedating or tranquilizing. Today, major tranquilizers are more often referred to as neuroleptics or antipsychotic agents and they are used in the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar illness. Examples of antipsychotic agents are chlorpromazine (Thorazine), synthesized in France in 1950, and the phenothiazines.

Presently, the common use of the term tranquilizer refers to the "minor" tranquilizers mainly of the benzodiazepine family. This newer group of anti-anxiety agents has tended to replace the use of barbiturates and meprobamate and certain antihistamines which were used as sedatives and anti-anxiety agents. It is these drugs that are prescribed as tranquilizers in the non-psychiatric setting of general medicine which treats anxiety brought on by stress rather than some disorder in the central nervous system.


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