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

Dirty Secrets of Health Care, Part I: Drug Pricing

American health care possesses numerous scandals - here's just one.

Dealing With the Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications

Unfortunately, some patients experience side effects before seeing relief on new medications. Here we explore five strategies for dealing with them.

Medications and Weight Gain: We Need Support

Have you gained weight from taking medications for bipolar disorder? Are you getting support or feeling stigmatized?

Schizophrenia and Its Treatment

By Neel Burton M.D. on October 07, 2015 Hide and Seek
What does the future hold?

Jonny Hawkins Explains Why Mental Illness is a Family Affair

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on October 07, 2015 Brick by Brick
Johnny Hawkins of the band Nothing More shares his family's story of mental illness and how he is working to raise awareness for mental health.

Adults With ADHD Are More Common Than You'd Guess

By Temma Ehrenfeld on October 06, 2015 Open Gently
ADHD affects 3 to 5 percent of adults.

Psychosis and Resistance to Taking Medications

Why do schizophrenics discontinue their medications? Often, this is done for delusional reasons, based on the fact that meds are only partially effective. Incomplete effectiveness of medication and the punitive aspects of psychosis allow for confusion regarding the causes of psychosis, further motivated by desperation of the schizophrenic to find relief.

5 Reasons Suffering People Don’t Want to Try Medication

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on October 04, 2015 Full Living
While it is true that we live in a world that too quickly turns to medication, it doesn't mean people with anxiety and depressive disorders should go without. This may be our one and only life; it is worth removing barriers to our contentment.

How Popcorn and Toys were used to Sell Kids Drugs Illegally

The series of articles is a stark wake-up call to any parent who is thinking about drugging their child for behavioral problems.

Antidepressants and Violence: A Link in Search of a Cause

A controversial study links higher youth crime rates with antidepressant use. Before making broad conclusions, however, it’s worth reading the fine print.

The Drug Addictions Of Mice And Men

By Jesse Marczyk on September 29, 2015 Pop Psych
Is drug addiction the opposite of social connections? What some data on rats tell us about that rather interesting idea.

Who’s Running the Show? You, Your Kids or Your Doctor?

By Michael W Corrigan Ed.D. on September 25, 2015 Kids Being Kids
Let’s face it, as kids wrestle with behavioral and maturity issues and juggle expectations related to academic and social challenges, some of the behaviors they display can be quite concerning. But guess what? For centuries parents have been capable of helping challenged children overcome semi-annoying and concerning behaviors. How do they do it?

“God” in a Pill?

An underlying fantasy of those who rely on psychiatric medication—in isolation—without meaningful psychosocial therapies. And—if “God is in the pill,” then the devil must be in the side effects!

An Anti-Drinking Drug May Hold the Cure to Sex Addiction

What about naltrexone makes it so effective at treating both alcohol and sex addiction? Study after study continues to suggest that behind every addiction, behavioral or otherwise, lies a malfunctioning reward center. It makes intuitive sense, then, that a medication that treats one kind of addiction may be able to treat another.

Will a Pink Pill Make Me Horny?

Will a Pink Pill Make Me Horny? It depends on what kind of sexual problem you are having. By Susan Kolod, Ph.D.

Thomas Insel Leaves NIMH for Google

At NIMH, Insel brought in a big new program, Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), to investigate the biological underpinnings of psychiatric illness. This was very progressive: moving the field off the dead center of psychotherapy (where the Freudian hand still lay heavy when Insel took over in 2002), and shifting laterally towards science and away from psychopharmacology...

Generic Drugs to Substantially Enhance Cancer Recovery

By Lucy O'Donnell on September 18, 2015 Cancer Is a Teacher
Is treatment for substantially enhancing your recovery from cancer sitting in your medicine chest? There are many "Off Label" drugs - drugs that have become generic and therefore inexpensive that substantially enhance recovery from cancer. Why do you not know about it? Because there is no money to be made from it by the pharmaceutical companies.

When Teen Depression Leads to Suicide

By Elizabeth Wagele on September 15, 2015 The Career Within You
“The only thing we should all fear is depression, a natural killer that we can effectively treat.” —Richard A. Friedman

The Stigma of Mental "Illness" Part 3

By Joseph A Shrand M.D. on September 12, 2015 The I-M Approach
Why do we say someone is mentally ill when they are just doing the best they can? And when we clear someone of psychosis how do we manage their response to the time they lost? Read this final installment of this three-part story to find out.

Avoiding ADHD’s Wide Net: One Parent, One Child at a Time

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on September 09, 2015 Singletons
The number of children diagnosed with ADHD is staggering and growing. Before you accept an ADHD diagnosis (and stimulant medication), as a parent it is your responsibility to consider what else might be causing your child’s difficult behaviors.

The Medical System Doesn't Know How to Reach Addicts

By Temma Ehrenfeld on September 08, 2015 Open Gently
People recover from addictions on their own—rarely because of outreach from medical professionals.

How Many Children and Adolescents Take Antipsychotics?

Antipsychotics are being prescribed to over 1% of boys and nearly 0.5% of girls between the ages 7 and 12. Most often, these drugs are used in combination with other psychoactive drugs. Decisions about using such drugs can be difficult especially when data are limited regarding their benefit and there is the potential for long-term risks.

How Illegal Drug Markets Operate?

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on September 04, 2015 Science of Choice
Illegal drug markets, like all markets, respond to changing circumstances.

Obama’s Heroin Response Strategy

By Richard Taite on September 01, 2015 Ending Addiction for Good
The good news is that the Obama administration is making at least some effort to address the horrific accidental death rate from heroin and prescription opioid overdose.

Bad Science Creates False and Dangerous Beliefs

Science is what is used to justify psychiatry today. If it is science at all, it is bad science. Both the pharmaceutical industry and many of today’s psychological theories including those that support CBT, employ the hoax of evidence-based psychiatry.

DON’T Buy Erection Drugs on the Internet

By Michael Castleman M.A. on September 01, 2015 All About Sex
A recent study finds that 77 percent of Internet “Viagra” is fake.

What is Prescription Misuse?

Although "prescription drug abuse" is a hot topic, it seems that many don't understand exactly what this entails. Here, we describe the various types of prescription drug abuse and how it can impact one's life.

American Masculinity and Drugs

Reading, coffee, waiting, camera: how American men and their relationship with mind-altering substances allegedly changed throughout the last 100 years.

LSD, Suggestibility, and Personality Change

A recent study found that LSD increases suggestibility. Research suggests that psychedelic drug use can increase openness to unusual ideas, such as spiritual and paranormal beliefs, in the long-term. Could this be be due to a long-lasting increase in suggestibility and related personality traits?

"Pink Viagra"—No It Isn't

FDA approves Flibanserin—and the search for sexual desire continues.