Treatment of Depression

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Depressions are the most common psychiatric diseases. For treatment, plant extracts have been used for thousands of years: examples are extracts from the (sleeping) poppy (opium), deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Indian hemp (hashish), henbane (hyoscyamine), thorn apple (scopolamine), and St. John's wort (hypericum oil). In addition, psychotherapeutic measures, like playing music, dancing, playing theatre, and also the temple sleep, were used. In the 19th century, the introduction of brome (1826), codeine (1832), chloral hydrate (1869), and paraldehyde (1882), as well as the barbiturates (at the turn of the century) introduced significant improvements in pharmacotherapy. The modern thymoleptica therapy started in 1957 with the introduction of imipramine. Now about 40 active antidepressants are marketed. New drug developments should be characterized mainly by an improvement in tolerance.

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