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Antidepressants and Anxiolytics 

Antidepressants and Anxiolytics
Chapter:
Antidepressants and Anxiolytics
Author(s):

Leslie L. Iversen

, Susan D. Iversen

, Floyd E. Bloom

, and Robert H. Roth

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195380538.003.0378
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date: 28 May 2020

Depression and anxiety are among the most common psychiatric disorders. Worldwide sales of antidepressant drugs of more than $20 billion make this one of the most important classes of central nervous system medicines. Although some may think of depression as a form of moral deficiency from which indi-viduals could get better if they just “pulled themselves up by the bootstraps,” the reality is that it is an illness, not a choice, and it represents a major cause of dis-ability, preventing sufferers from work and pleasure. It is also a syndrome of different symptoms, only one of which is depressed mood. The diagnostic criteria suggested by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV; Table 14–1), make this clear and readily distinguish major depression from normal reactions to life events such as bereavement.

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