Psychotropic medications affect the brain and central nervous system. They alter the process of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which act as chemical messengers between the brain cells. Medication is prescribed when symptoms of mental or emotional illness are severe, persistent, and interfere with normal functioning. Psychotropic drugs help control symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, profound sadness, depression, disrupted patterns of appetite and sleep, confused thinking, poor concentration, altered perceptions and sensations, and discomfort from physical pain. Some psychotropic drugs are prescribed for medical and neurological disorders. On occasion, two or more medications may be prescribed to relieve multiple symptoms. Which medication is prescribed depends on an individual's unique characteristics-severity of symptoms, health, age, pregnancy, etc. All drugs require careful monitoring and may necessitate initial and ongoing lab work and blood tests, special dietary restrictions, and lifestyle changes. Some of the newer medications target specific neurotransmitters and provide more effective treatment with manageable doses and fewer side effects such as sedation and addictive qualities.