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Mergers and Acquisitions Among Psychotropics: Antidepressant Takeover of Anxiety May Now Be Complete

Stephen M. Stahl

Published: May 1, 1999

Article Abstract

Original drug classifications from the 1960s through the 1970s and into the 1980s emphasized that there were important distinctions between the antidepressants (e.g., tricyclic antidepressants) and the anxiolytics (e.g., benzodiazepines and buspirone) available at that time. This emphasis reflected the diagnostic notions prevalent at that time, which tended to dichotomize major depressive disorder (MDD) from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) while largely lumping all anxiety disorder subtypes together in the generalized anxiety disorder category. As time has progressed, there has been great interest in the middle ground between the entities of depression and anxiety, with essentially all antidepressants being recognized as effective in treating patients with MDD and symptoms of anxiety, and with anxiolytics being recognized as effective in treating patients with GAD and symptoms of depression.

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