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

Protection From Reaction to Medication

Have you had bad experiences with medications you have taken or been administered? Knowing your history of medications can help to prevent this.

Neuroscience Suggests That We're All "Wired" for Addiction

By Christopher Bergland on August 26, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
New research suggests that everybody has the neurobiological potential to become an addict.

The New Science of Animal Psychiatry

Nicolas Dodman takes us into a world of dogs with autism and Tourette’s syndrome, horses with OCD, and cats who attack their owners for no apparent reason.

ADHD and Michael Phelps: Medication Is Not a Crutch

Not taking stimulant medication for your diagnosed ADHD? You still have ADHD.

On a Cup of Coffee

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 13, 2016 in How To Do Life
Gratitude as an anti-sadness "medication."

How Medication Can Help Prevent Opioid Relapse

One lapse can be deadly when trying to overcome an addiction to drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers, but medication-assisted treatment can help counter that risk.

3 Ways Aerobic Exercise Improves Schizophrenia Symptoms

By Christopher Bergland on August 12, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A groundbreaking report, published this morning, identifies three specific ways that aerobic exercise improves cognitive functioning in people with schizophrenia.

Most Problem Drinkers Learn to Change Their Drinking

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on August 09, 2016 in All About Addiction
You've heard it before: "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." The idea that "addiction" is an inescapable condition is pervasive and wrong. And there's data proving it.

What We Can Learn From Michael Phelps About ADHD

He is the most decorated Olympian athlete of all time. But the road to Rio wasn't an easy path for Phelps or for his parents.

College Parents 101

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on August 07, 2016 in Social Lights
Six things parents must discuss with their college-bound kids

Many Commonly Used Drugs Are Useless

By Allen J Frances M.D. on August 07, 2016 in Saving Normal
Drug company marketing muscle can turn useless meds into financial blockbusters.

Canine Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Nicholas Dodman on August 07, 2016 in Dog Days
Have you ever wondered why some dogs exhibit pointless repetitive behaviors? I'm talking wrist licking, tail chasing, flank sucking, shadow chasing, and so on. If so, read on.

Depression and Drugs in Paradise: A Famous Island Suffers

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on August 03, 2016 in Insight Is 20/20
When people think of Martha's Vineyard, they may think of celebrities and presidents who vacation there. The reality: the island suffers from a heroin problem, among others.

Outpatient Detox Model Gaining Popularity in Treatment

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on August 01, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Why ambulatory (outpatient) detox is more effective when treating substance abuse.

Tough Choices for Parents of Adults With Bipolar Disorder

A discussion of the dilemmas faced by parents of adult children with bipolar disorder who perceive there is nothing wrong or elect to forgo help for the illness they live with.

How To Manage ADHD Without Drugs

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on July 26, 2016 in Think Well
Here are seven nonmedical methods that help people with ADHD.

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.”