ISSN (Print): 2211-5560
ISSN (Online): 2211-5579
Volume 10, 3 Issues, 2021
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Media, Mental Health, and Medication
Guest Editor(s): Jessica Gold
Guest Editor(s): Robert T. Gerlai
1 Abstract Ahead of Print are available electronically
4 Articles Ahead of Print are available electronically
Even though college is often described as “the best years of your life”, college students are at significantly high risk for
mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicide. The pandemic has only worsened this risk,
particularly for this age group. Data from the Centers for Disease Control from June 2020, suggested that compared to other age
groups, 18-24 year olds were the most at risk for depression, anxiety, trauma related symptoms due to COVID-19, initiation
and increase in substance use to cope with COVID-19, and suicidal ideation in the last 30 days . As a result, the already
significant mental health needs in this group have only been compounded and the risks have only grown.
While the second half of this special issue of Current Psychopharmacology, Psychopharmacology in Student Health
(college and graduate): Substance Use Disorders & Psychiatry is not COVID-19 specific, it covers the spectrum of problems
that young adults face during these trying times and the transition from adolescence to adulthood. In this volume experts
discuss the assessment and evaluation of young adults for substance use and psychiatric disorders as well as preventionintervention
and treatment strategies. Reducing victimization is related as well. Mindful that these insights, contributions, and
reviews were written pre-COVID we should also remember that many of these problem areas will need additional attention and
intervention as a result of the significant impact of the pandemic.
The contributions to this special issue include a review of depression and suicidality in the college aged population ,
including targeted strategies for treatment and prevention in this population and a review of the diagnosis and treatment of early
psychosis, a critical conversation given that this is the age at which many psychotic disorders emerge . Merlo et al. 
address e-cigarette and vaping on campus with an in-depth review of this important and emerging trend and binge drinking and
the significant intervention of collegiate recovery programs are also discussed in another review in this issue . Bringing the
gap between substance use and mental health disorders, Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on campus is
discussed at length with a guide for clinicians and administrators . Hemphill et al.  focused on graduate and professional
student sexual victimization, which is a particularly significant reason for trauma. Finally, D’Amelio and Gold  wrote a piece
describing the importance of the transition from high school to college and making sure that the group with preexisting mental
health conditions does not fall through the cracks. This is likely to be more important now, post-COVID-19.
The Editors extend their gratitude to the authors for their interest and contributions to this timely Special Theme Issue. We
also thank the reviewers for their time and expertise for provide an appraisal of the manuscripts and their comments to help
improve the quality of the submissions.
It is hoped that the second half of this special issue on psychopharmacology on student health may help providers better
understand, screen, and treat other common disorders in this population and be aware of emerging trends and prevention
strategies. Hopefully this helps to stimulate future research in this area.
College is a key point of transition for mental health care that is often neglected in research and
conversation. We talk about mental health and psychopharmacological treatments in child psychiatry but
don’t talk about how to prepare those psychiatrists and other physicians to treat college age young adults
and teach them how to manage their mental health. We talk about mental health of adults but do not
discuss about how early intervention, psychopharmacological treatment, and prevention in college could
have thwarted worsened mental health as an adult and led to better psychosocial outcomes. All of this will
only be compounded in a post-COVID-19 world in which many college and graduate students transitioned
to being home for extended periods instead of returning to school, which led to remissions, relapses,
lapses in medications and other treatments, while also causing significant disruption in their identity and
social development. It is also unclear what college and graduate school will look like in the future, and
whether antiseptic online courses will become more of the norm, for example, but it will be different. As
such, every psychopharmacologist and health provider needs to know what to look for in this population,
how to screen and assess this group, and how to treat them, and not just providers on campus.
The first half of this special issue of Current Psychopharmacology, Psychopharmacology in Student
Health (college and graduate): Substance Use Disorders & Psychiatry, highlights key diagnostic
considerations, treatment, as well as research advances in this area. These topics are particularly relevant
with COVID-19, as anxiety and depression have worsened, eating disorders are triggered, substance use is
used for coping, and this group is forced to socialize almost entirely via social media.
The contributions to this special issue include a review of anxiety disorders by Matthew Pesko , that
looks at the worsening burden of anxiety disorders on this population and factors that contribute to this
increase, as well as those who are resilient to it. Eating disorders, including a review of the literature on
screening, prevention, and treatment approaches, are the focus of an article by Grammar et al. . As
young adults have the highest proportion of marijuana users of any group, Wenzinger and Fears 
reviewed the evidence on marijuana use and its ramifications in this group, as well as the lack of evidence
for any beneficial use, including cannabidiol (CBD). Jia and Gold  looked more specifically at
hallucinogens as a class of drugs, but also as medications. Psychedelic psychopharmacological therapies
are widespread, poorly researched, and young adults are amateur psychopharmacologists with
microdosing and finding psychiatrists to “prescribe” these drugs of abuse. There is no doubt that some of
these psychedelics will become valuable psychopharmacological treatments, as demonstrated by ketamine
and CBD’s approval by the FDA, but the more psychedelic medicine has been talked about in the press,
the risks may be ignored if not as highlighted. Finally, the evidence on social media and mental health is
presented in a review by Holmes et al. .
The Editors extend their gratitude to the authors for their interest and contributions to this timely
Special Theme Issue. We also thank the reviewers for their time and expertise in providing an appraisal of
the manuscripts and their comments to help improve the quality of the submissions.
It is hoped that the first half of this special issue on psychopharmacology in student health may help
providers better understand, screen, and treat common disorders in this population, be able to identify
students at risk, and stimulate future research in this area.
Neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders represent major economic burden more than all cancers
and cardiovascular diseases combined with depression alone being the number one cause of disability. A
better and clear understanding of pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative and psychiatric
disorders is required to fulfill the unmet need of new treatments for aforementioned disorders. Free radicals
are a common outcome of normal aerobic cellular metabolism. Imbalanced defense mechanism of
antioxidants, overproduction or incorporation of free radicals from environment to living system leads to
serious penalty leading to neuro-degeneration. Toxicity of free radicals contributes to proteins and DNA
injury, inflammation, tissue damage and subsequent cellular apoptosis. Antioxidants are now being looked
upon as persuasive therapeutics against solemn neuronal loss, as they have the capability to combat by
neutralizing free radicals. Diet is a major source of antioxidants, as well as medicinal herbs are catching
attention to be the commercial source of antioxidants at present. Furthermore, antioxidants may help protect
against mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitters imbalance and another harmful condition that
commonly accompanies aging and disease states.
This special thematic issue specifically covers the sources of antioxidants and free radicals and the
general mechanism involved in antioxidant mediated free radical scavenging. Major emphases have been
given to the role of oxidative stress and free radical chemistry with respect to major neurodegenerative
and related disorders. The issue will cover four research and six review articles related to the role of oxidative
in stress in different CNS and related disorders.
Rajmeet and co-workers  explored the role of ferulic acid, a well-known antioxidant in Monosodium
Glutamate induced anxiety and motor incoordination in rodents. Monosodium Glutamate was known to
cause some major problems in the CNS like Chinese syndrome and other disturbances in brain neurotransmitters.
Calcium Channel Blockers  were established to play a major role in cardiovascular and CNS disease
pathology and conventionally used for the treatment of various CNS disorders and other dysfunctions.
Whereas nicotine is an alkaloid commonly smoked in cigarettes with highly addictive and harmful effects.
So the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine is very destructive and painful. Shikha and Bansal explored the
role of Calcium channel blockers against nicotine withdrawal symptoms in mice.
Kaur et al. . established the protective effect of agomelatine on Traumatic Brain Injury induced cognitive
deficit in rodents and explored the role of neurotransmitters in the pathophysiology of TBI.
Khanna and Parle  explored that the anticholinergic and hypocholesterolemic activity of Juglan
regia improves cognitive functions in mice.
Kumar et al. . compiled the data on insulin resistance in diabetes. Diabetes is a major disorder
worldwide and especially in India. Insulin resistance is a state in which the body's cells become resistant
to the effects of insulin. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for the development of diabetes. Kumar et al.
explored the present and future prospective of insulin resistance.
Gorain et al. . wrote a detailed review on mechanistic description of natural herbs in the treatment of
dementia. Dementia is the major problem in different CNS disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and
natural herbs are used to improve the memory from long back but their mechanism is not still explored,
and this review especially discussed the mechanistic description of few herbs.
Nidal Abed et al. . discussed the role of herbal medication and nutraceuticals for the management of
anxiety and depression.
Bedi et al. . discussed on dietary interventions for diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy. Neuropathy
and nephropathy are major secondary complications of diabetes mellitus and there is a need to explore the
dietary requirements and restrictions for these complications in diabetic patients.
Kumar et al. . discussed the role of neurotransmitters in various animal models and human pathological
Bala and Khanna  discussed Lycopene: Bright Red Nutraceutical for Health Benefits. This article
reviews the possible pharmacological action and the current understanding of Lycopene role in human
health and disease prevention. The review provides information on lycopene and its potential benefits as
delineated in preclinical and clinical studies.
We sincerely hope that this thematic issue of Current Psychopharmacology on ‘Oxidative stress in
Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric disorders’ will definitely be beneficial to define the role of free radicals
and oxidative stress in the CNS and related disorders and helpful in developing a new drug therapy
for these disorders.
Lastly, we are thankful to all scholarly contributors for their valuable inputs, reviewers for their voluntarily
contribution and editorial team of Bentham Science Publishers for their support to make this special
issue a valuable scientific contribution to researchers around the globe.
The paradigmatic precept, primum non nocere, is often attributed to such founding icons of Western
medicine as Hippocrates of Kos (460 BC to 370 BC) and/or Galen of Pergamon (129 to 200 AD).
Scholars, however, place this maxim of medical morality in the hands of the great Scottish physician,
Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), who has been called the English Hippocrates [1-5]. The application of
this principle is critical when considering the use of pharmacologic agents for the management of patients
with medical and psychiatric (behavioral) disorders [6, 7].
Recommendations of various medications date back to the pharmacopoeia of China by the Red
Emperor, Shen-Nung (2737 BC) and the Egyptian pharmacopoeia the 1550 BC Ebers Papyrus; the latter
was a 110 page scoll with 700 formulas of various origins (mineral, vegetable and animal) [8, 9]. The
envisioned benefit of medications for improving one’s sports performance can be seen with the history of
the Ancient Greek Olympics (776 BC-393 AD) that sought to improve changes of sports success with
such drugs as cocaine, amphetamine, strychnine and magic mushrooms; some modern atheltes have added
anabolic steroids for the same quintessential quest .
Unfortunately, exiguous examination was often provided to the potential adverse effects of medications
taken for medical or psychiatric benefit to the person or patient. The 19th and 20th centuries taught many
that potential advantage(s) from the use of chemicals such as addictive drugs (i.e., cocaine, morphine,
heroin, methylamphetamine, others) did not outweigh the potentially exigent adverse effects of these
chemicals . The 20th and 21st centuries have continued to teach clinicians to neutrally and carefully
weigh potential benefits of all medications with potential adverse effects that may harm the patient.
Even “miracle” medications must be appreciated in this manner. For example, the discovery and
application of penicillin are classic in this maxim of “primum non nocere.” The acclaimed Scottish
luminary, Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), became a pioneer of penicillin in 1928; he identified it
from the mold Penicillium notatum [11, 12]. Almost immediately, the medical profession also discovered
that for some patients, adverse effects to penicillin could become a serious problem [13-15].
The age of psychopharmacology for mental health was perhaps activated in the 20th century with the
1937 publication of Charles Bradley’ study on children with behavioral problems taking benzedrine .
This was followed with various reports on mental health medications such as methylphenidate and
chlorpromazine in the 1950s as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the 1990s . In
addition, research in the 20th century was produced dealing with the potential benefical effects of lithium,
tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and others .
One of the lessons learned in the 20th century and now early in this 21st century is that all medications
have potential adverse effects; they can be allergic or non-allergic with various underlying pathophysiolic
mechanisms---whether mild, moderate, severe, or life-threatening [9, 17]. Clinicians must remember the
time-honored lessons taught in training about medications including that the word pharmacology comes
from the Greek word, pharmakon, that means “poison” in ancient Greek and became “drugs” in modern
Greek [9, 18].
Clinicians prescribing psychopharmacologic agents to their pediatric patients must always keep in mind
the safety of their patients. The ratio of risks to benefits must always be scrutinized by caring clinicians
who should be neutral in this regard, are not unduly influenced by pharmaceutical pressure for patients [9, 19, 20]. It is in this sincere spirit that the current issue of Current Psychopharmacology is
provided to consider the potential adverse side effects of selected psychopharmacologic agents in
Medicine does not consider the interests of medicine, but the interests of the patient...No physician,
insofar as he is a physician, considers his own good in what he practices, but the good of his patient.
Socrates (470 or 469-399 BCE) in Plato’s Republic.