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Pharmacological Treatment Of Cognitive Deficits In Nondementing Mental Health Disorders


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Evidence for pharmacological remediation of cognitive deficits in three major psychiatric disorders—attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and depression—is reviewed. ADHD is effectively treated with the stimulant medications methylphenidate and d-amphetamine, as well as nonstimulants such as atomoxetine, implicating cognitive enhancing effects mediated by noradrenaline and dopamine. However, the precise mechanisms underlying these effects remains unclear. Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are less effectively treated, but attempts via a variety of neurotransmitter strategies are surveyed. The possibility of treating cognitive deficits in depression via antidepressant medication (eg, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and by adjunctive drug treatment has only recently received attention because of confounding, or possibly interactive, effects on mood. Prospects for future advances in this important area may need to take into account transdiagnostic perspectives on cognition (including neurodegenerative diseases) as well as improvements in neuropsychological, neurobiological, and clinical trial design approaches to cognitive enhancement.