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The use of pharmacologic agents to treat psychiatric illness has increased dramatically since the advent in the 1950s of chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic drug widely regarded as the first psychotropic medication. Interest in the medication-based treatment of trauma-related disorders such as acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has grown as those disorders have been more formally characterized and increasingly recognized. A variety of psychotropic agents have been studied both to prevent and treat trauma-related disorders. Certain medications, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have shown efficacy in the treatment of noncombat PTSD. Unfortunately, useful preventive pharmacologic interventions and effective treatment for combat-related PTSD remain more elusive. Pharmacologic agents are a mainstay in the treatment of other psychiatric conditions that are also common ...

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