What Is Psychopharmacology?

The use of drugs to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders makes psychoactive agents—especially antipsychotics and antidepressants—among the most widely prescribed pharmaceuticals today. Much debate surrounds the use of stimulants to treat attention-deficit problems and the side effects of antidepressants, especially for children. The general effectiveness of antidepressants when measured against a placebo remains controversial, although the treatments that prove most effective combine drugs with psychotherapy.

Recent posts on Psychopharmacology

Stronger Drugs, Stronger Placebos

By Peter D Kramer on July 19, 2016 in In Practice
New research is elucidating the biological underpinnings of the placebo response. The results might enhance our appreciation of real—inherently effective—medications.

Secret Stash: Ten Most Common Places Teens Hide Drugs

Teens are notorious for being innovative, and hiding their drugs is no exception.

Harvard Study Pegs How Parental Substance Abuse Impacts Kids

A new Harvard study, published today, reports that 1 in 5 children grows up in a home with parental substance abuse. The study offers advice on how to break the cycle of addiction.

Are Antidepressant Medications the Next Drug Abuse Epidemic?

Congress passed legislation this week to slow the epidemic of pain-killer addiction. What could also slow the epidemic of drug use for treating the emotional pain of depression?

The Opioid Epidemic and Our Children

The opioid addiction crisis is laying waste to families and communities. Children inevitably become victims. Research on treatment and child protection is just catching up.
Four Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe From Drugs

Four Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe From Drugs

You’ve probably thought about how drug use impacts your own health or that of family members, but have you considered how it affects your pets?
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Three Reasons to Reconsider Medication Assisted Treatment

A new life in recovery is about making decisions free from any substances. Your loved one has an opportunity to live drug-free. Take it.

Identifying Alcohol or Drug Abuse in the Work Place

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on July 06, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs) at work is a serious issue with negative consequences for employers and co-workers alike.

A Possible New Class of Antidepressants

Recent advances in knowledge about the generation of new brain cells throughout the lifespan are leading to the development of new drugs to treat neuropsychiatric illnesses.

How Macy Gray Settled Her Heart and Mind

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on July 06, 2016 in Brick by Brick
Grammy Award-winning singer Macy Gray overcame multiple hurdles, including mental illness and racism, as she built a dynamic and creative career.

Yes, Benzos Are Bad for You

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 01, 2016 in Saving Normal
The benzos are dangerously seductive – easy and pleasant to start, but frequently addictive and almost impossible to stop. They do little good and cause much harm.

The Anatomy of Addiction

By The Book Brigade on June 30, 2016 in The Author Speaks
The time for medication-assisted treatment of addiction has come.

7 Pet Peeves About Doctors

Unless studies show that there’s no connection between a medication and a particular side-effect, the doctor should be saying, “We don’t know.”

How Are You Self-Destructive? 4 Obvious and 4 Hidden Ways

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on June 27, 2016 in Insight Is 20/20
Everyone gets self-destructive in one way or another, and people do it to varying degrees. Some ways are obvious, while others are more hidden.

What Is a Behavioral Addiction?

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on June 27, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Ingesting drugs and alcohol may produce short-term rewards that then result in a lack of control over the behavior.

Prince's Death and the Opioid Addiction/Overdose Myth

By Stanton Peele on June 26, 2016 in Addiction in Society
The emergent narrative of Prince's drug use and death makes no sense, but simply serves to reinforce popular but misguided ideas about addiction and deaths due to drugs.

Signs Your Children Are Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on June 24, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Summer is here and that means teenagers are out of school. Here are signs to look out for to tell if your teenager might be abusing drugs and alcohol in their free time.

Drug Shills Dispensing Pills

By Jean Kim M.D. on June 23, 2016 in Culture Shrink
As a psychiatrist-in-training and then a young attending in the 2000s, I saw the undue influence drug companies had over our academic field.

How Mild Is "Mild Cognitive Impairment"?

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on June 20, 2016 in iAge
Is memory loss the slippery slope to Alzheimer's disease?

Ian Anderson’s Progressive Path

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on June 20, 2016 in Brick by Brick
Jethro Tull is considered by many to be one of the greatest progressive rock bands of all time.
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Are Anti-Depressant Tests Worth It?

Get the right test and you'll get the right drug, right?

ADHD: Are We Helping or Harming With Current Medications?

There are no smart drugs that increase intelligence. Many children show uneven or lower IQ scores and Learning disabilities whose optimal remediation is education and academic.

When a Relationship Makes You Sick

Victims of coercive control frequently experience medical problems, including heart trouble, non-specific head, back, and stomach pain, and difficulty sleeping and eating.

Sugar and ADHD: A Bad Mix?

Gummy bears or grapes? Why studies disagree on sugar and ADHD.

TMS for Depression Adds to Treatment Options

When psychotherapy and medication are not enough in treating major depression,TMS is an example of a new method that may help.

Can Antidepressants Turn You Into a Food Addict?

There may be a very simple cure for treating food addiction issues.

Why Is Mental Health So Difficult to Define?

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on June 05, 2016 in Side Effects
A stress on anticipated harmony and positivity is part of the problem.

Living in the Limelight and the Underbelly of Superfluidity

What can we learn from Prince's tragic death? This blog post offers some insights based on the latest neuroscience of opioid addiction and the common pitfalls of fame and fortune.

Giving the Devil His Due

By Peter D Kramer on June 03, 2016 in In Practice
A study showcased as validating psychotherapy shows surprising benefits from medication.

What’s Up With Illegal Drug Use?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 02, 2016 in How To Do Life
A The Eminents Interview: Dr. Nora Volkow.