psychopharmacology

psychopharmacologic /suy'koh fahr'meuh keuh loj"ik/, psychopharmacological, adj.psychopharmacologically, adv.psychopharmacologist, n.
/suy'koh fahr'meuh kol"euh jee/, n.
the branch of pharmacology dealing with the psychological effects of drugs.
[1915-20; PSYCHO- + PHARMACOLOGY]

* * *

Study of the effect of drugs on the mind and behaviour, particularly in the context of developing treatments for mental disorders.

Major psychopharmacological advances in the 20th century include the development of tranquilizers, antidepressants, lithium carbonate (for bipolar disorder), certain stimulants (including amphetamines), and antipsychotic agents such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), and haloperidol (Haldol).

* * *

      the development, study, and use of drugs for the modification of behaviour and the alleviation of symptoms, particularly in the treatment of mental disorders. One of the most striking advances in the treatment of mental illnesses in the middle of the 20th century was the development of the series of pharmacological agents commonly known as tranquilizers (tranquilizer) (e.g., chlorpromazine, reserpine, and other milder agents) and antidepressants (antidepressant), including the highly effective group known as tricyclic antidepressants. lithium is widely used to allay the symptoms of affective disorders and especially to prevent recurrences of both the manic and the depressed episodes in manic-depressive individuals. The many commercially marketed antipsychotic agents (including thiothixene, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, and thioridazine) all share the common property of blocking the dopamine receptors in the brain. (Dopamine acts to help transmit nerve impulses in the brain.) Since scientists have found a direct relationship between dopamine blockage and reduction of schizophrenic symptoms, many believe that schizophrenia may be related to excess dopamine.

      These drugs contrast sharply with the hypnotic and sedative drugs that formerly were in use and that clouded the patient's consciousness and impaired his motor and perceptual abilities. The antipsychotic drugs can allay the symptoms of anxiety and reduce agitation, delusions, and hallucinations, and the antidepressants lift spirits and quell suicidal impulses. The heavy prescription use of drugs to reduce agitation and quell anxiety has led, however, to what many psychiatrists consider an overuse of such medications. An overdose of a tranquilizer may cause loss of muscular coordination and slowing of reflexes, and prolonged use can lead to addiction. Toxic side effects such as jaundice psychoses, dependency, or a reaction similar to Parkinson's disease may develop. The drugs may produce other minor symptoms (e.g., heart palpitations, rapid pulse, sweating) because of their action on the autonomic nervous system.

      Though particular drugs are prescribed for specific symptoms or syndromes, they are usually not specific to the treatment of any single mental disorder. Because of their ability to modify the behaviour of even the most disturbed patients, the antipsychotic, antianxiety, and antidepressant agents have greatly affected the management of the hospitalized mentally ill, enabling hospital staff to devote more of their attention to therapeutic efforts and enabling many patients to lead relatively normal lives outside of the hospital.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Psychopharmacology — (from Greek gr. ψῡχή, psȳkhē , breath, life, soul ; gr. φάρμακον, pharmakon , drug ; and gr. λογία, logia ) is the study of drug induced changes in mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior. [Meyer, J. S. and Quenzer, L. S. (2004).… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychopharmacology — ist eine medizinische Fachzeitschrift im Bereich der Psychopharmakologie mit Sitz in Berlin. Sie zählt zu den Produkten der Gruppe Springer Science+Business Media (ISSN 0033 3158). Ihr Themenbereich erstreckt sich über die klinische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • psychopharmacology — [sī΄kō fär΄mə käl′ə jē] n. the study of the actions of drugs on the mind psychopharmacological [sī΄kō fär΄məkə läj′i kəl] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Psychopharmacology —    The study of the differential use of drugs to understand and modify neuochemistry and the psychiatric disorders to which anomalies in neurochemistry give rise.    The first researcher in the modern history of medicine to use a psychoactive… …   Historical dictionary of Psychiatry

  • psychopharmacology — noun Date: 1920 the study of the effect of drugs on the mind and behavior • psychopharmacological also psychopharmacologic adjective • psychopharmacologist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • psychopharmacology — noun The branch of pharmacology which pertains to the psychoactive aspects of drugs …   Wiktionary

  • psychopharmacology — 1. The use of drugs to treat mental and psychologic disorders. 2. The science of drug behavior relationships. SYN: neuropsychopharmacology. [psycho + G. pharmakon, drug, + logos, study] With the explosive advance of brain science since 1970 has… …   Medical dictionary

  • psychopharmacology — n. study of the psychological effects of drugs and medications …   English contemporary dictionary

  • psychopharmacology — noun the branch of psychiatry concerned with the effects of drugs on the mind and behaviour. Derivatives psychopharmacological adjective psychopharmacologist noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • psychopharmacology — psy·cho·pharmacology …   English syllables

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.