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

Schizophrenia in a Vial? The Story of Ketamine

A back-of-the-shelf anesthetic induces all the symptoms of schizophrenia—but only in adults. What does this reveal about brain development and the nature of schizophrenia?

“Dad, I Think I Have ADHD”

By Marcia Morris M.D. on September 17, 2017 in College Wellness
The accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of ADHD are critical because ADHD, if left untreated, can lead to poor school performance, driving mishaps, and substance abuse.

Low Brain Cholesterol—Separating Fact from Fiction

By Georgia Ede MD on September 17, 2017 in Diagnosis: Diet
How vegan diets and cholesterol-lowering drugs affect mood and memory.

Opioid Addiction: Is This a War We Can Win?

Those who are familiar with “recovery from addiction” know that solving the crisis requires action. The battle lines are clear; it’s time to take a stand.

Depression and Loneliness Linked to Higher Mortality Rates

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on September 07, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
Over 40 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with depression, and I am sure the real number is higher, the number of people coping with loneliness is unknown.

Mindfulness Therapy Could Help ADHD, Studies Suggest

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on August 31, 2017 in Urban Survival
New studies suggest an important role for mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy in ADHD treatment.

Are Some Criminals Incapable of Changing?

The issue is not "inability" but choices that an offender makes.

Addiction and the Brain

By Fran Simone Ph.D. on August 26, 2017 in A Family Affair
Learning about addiction and the brain can help loved ones.
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Depression: What About Ketamine?

By Monica N. Starkman M.D. on August 20, 2017 in On Call
For those considering being treated with it, here is recent information from clinical experts.

Why the Opioid Commission Recommendations Will Fail America

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on August 15, 2017 in Sure Recovery
The recent White House Opioid Commission's Interim Report could have negative effects. My recommendations can help avoid that.

Q.E.D.: The Most Dangerous Addiction—Childhood Video Games

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Addiction in Society
People who attempts mass murders often seem to have been unusually involved in youthful video games, which DSM-5 failed to label "addictive." Is that an oversight?

Slow Your Roll, ‘Pharma Bro’

How can we restore access to unaffordable medications?
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No, Mr. President, a Wall Won’t Stop Opioid Overdose Deaths

How does increasing law enforcement to go after international drug cartels serve those who have an opioid abuse problem now? We can help addicts and reunite families, if we act.

Cannabis in a K-cup

By Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. on August 03, 2017 in Your Brain on Food
Caffeine and marijuana have vastly different effects within the brain; this makes predicting how the combination might affect mood or thinking exceptionally difficult.

The Dean of USC's Medical School Used Addictive Drugs

When a prominent medical school dean was revealed to have used so-called "addictive drugs" before, he was terminated instantly due to what school authorities called his "disease."

Sidestepping Into Addiction

By Holly Parker, Ph.D. on July 24, 2017 in Your Future Self
On the face of things, doesn’t it just seem like the answer to disagreeable feelings is to run for cover in our bat cave, where they can’t pester us anymore?

Helping Traumatized Animals with "Hugs, Drugs and Choices"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 24, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Work at Australian sanctuaries offers valuable suggestions for helping traumatized animals overcome the conditions from which they suffer. They feel, they hurt, and they need help.

ADHD: A Bundle of Deplorable Problems Masked in Plain View?

ADHD: a performance deficit---significant difficulties implementing academic skills, not specifically learning them. Is ADHD over-diagnosed and stimulant drugs over-prescribed?

Help! My Antidepressants Aren’t Working

Are your antidepressants not working? Adding talk therapy may help.

“Dr. Google,” Friend or Foe?

Here are a few of experiences I’ve had with Dr. Google, first as friend, then as foe. I hope they serve as a guide to using Google wisely. It’s not easy to do, that’s for sure.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Legal Profession

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on July 17, 2017 in Sure Recovery
What do lawyers have to do with addiction?

How to End the Opioid Epidemic

By Michael Bradley Ed.D. on July 15, 2017 in Crazy-Stressed
Parents who place few zero-tolerance demands upon their teens have kids who are shocked to see their laid-back parents suddenly get deadly serious.

Being Bayesian in Insane Places

Can we really make progress in improving reliability of detecting problematic psychiatric events using computational tools?

Opioid Prescription Decline Data Misleading

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on July 12, 2017 in Sure Recovery
Opioid prescriptions have decreased, but overdose deaths have increased.

Marijuana Legalization and Answers to Our "Drug Problems"

Drugs & drug policy evoke strong opinions. At stake are issues of personal freedom, public health, racial equality, public safety, costs, & large financial profits.

How to Address 7 of the Most Unhelpful Beliefs About Sleep

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 10, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Bad sleep opens the door for thoughts that only make sleep worse. Find out what some of the most troubling thoughts are, and how to fix them.

The Myth of Addiction as "Equal Opportunity Destroyer"

As American experts consistently misplace their emphasis about addiction on drugs, rather than people, more people die. But those at high risk of victimhood are voiceless anyhow.

The Opioid Crisis

The latest information suggests the crisis may get worse before it gets better.

Breaking Through the Wall of Schizophrenia

Research shows that people who have experienced trauma are more likely to be psychotic. Surprisingly, being bullied is one kind of trauma.
"Yin and Yang" by Klem - This vector image was created with Inkscape by Klem, and then manually edited by Mnmazur.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons a/File:Yin_and_Yang.svg

Treatment of Insomnia: Cannabis Reconsidered Part 4

By John Cline Ph.D. on June 30, 2017 in Sleepless in America
While many patients are using medical cannabis to treat insomnia, and research progress is being made, there is much that needs to be done to insure efficacy and safety.