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

Why Are Drugs So Outrageously Expensive?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 18, 2015 Saving Normal
The drug industry is the most profitable on earth because it has exercised its power to price gouge. The combination of mounting public outrage, frequent media exposure, and the politics of this election season now provide the critical ingredients for possible change.

Is Mental Health Care Failing our Kids?

A recent New York Times essay is an eye-opening message for parents or for anyone else concerned with child mental health.

Psychiatry’s Med Check: Is 15 Minutes Enough?

Goodbye 50 minute therapy visits, the new mode of treatment by psychiatrists are short medication-focused appointments. Here are some ideas to work with and hopefully change the status quo.

Creative Psychiatric Revolutions: A History

Psychiatry is one of the most challenging fields in medicine. It has evolved through a series of creative developments, beginning with overcoming beliefs in demonic possession and the removal of chains from the hospitalized to current medicinal, psychotherapeutic and social treatments.

Why Are So Many American Youth Abusing Adderall?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 08, 2015 Saving Normal
ADHD meds are the most dangerous legal drugs among young people in college and high school.

Less Medication, More Talk Therapy

The U.S. is lagging way behind other nations in its treatment of the mentally ill.

Suboxone and Methadone Maintenance Therapy

As a father, my heart belongs to my children. As the owner of an addiction treatment center, my thoughts are with my clients and how to help them return to their families

Blowing the Bugles for Buccal Buprenorphine

By Mark Borigini M.D. on October 31, 2015 Overcoming Pain
Belbuca. It is indicated for the treatment of chronic pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment, in the patient for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

More Than a Chemical Imbalance

To treat depression as the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain — and to try to fix the problem with medication — is naive, misleading and possibly even dangerous. This is not to say that brain chemistry isn't involved in depression. But it’s certainly not the only factor.

Stimulant Treatment of Children with ADHD and Tics

For decades a dispute has persisted about whether stimulant medications for ADHD can cause tics. A recent study seems to have resolved the issue.

How to Address Using Adderall and Ritalin as Study Aids

It is estimated that about a quarter of college students use Adderall or Ritalin as study aids in college.

PTSD: How this Drug and Talk Therapy Can Help

A well-known medication plus systematic talk therapy has reduced symptoms of PTSD. This can potentially reduce disturbing memories after they have been reactivated in a controlled therapeutic manner. Other drugs might help as well.

Listening to Placebo, Especially in the U.S.

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 23, 2015 Side Effects
Why is the placebo effect intensifying among Americans—and why now?

The Alternative to Drugs

My opposition to psychiatric drugs is not just that they are harmful, dangerous, and destructive. That would be plenty motivation enough. And it is. But in addition, my profession, which I love and value, has been hijacked by the APA and Big Pharma.

The Three Most Dangerous Myths About ADHD

By Katherine Ellison on October 21, 2015 Pay Attention
Is ADHD an explanation or an excuse?

Guns, Mental Health, and Insurance

We can’t identify who is going to be the next shooter with tests and diagnosis. But we can adjust our thinking regarding optimal mental and physical health and, rather than continuing to stigmatize those individuals engaged in long term talk therapy, accept the fact that it provides great benefits for all of us.

Generic Drugs Live Down to Expectations

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on October 20, 2015 Minding the Body
Generic drugs are the omega dogs of the pharmaceutical world. They don’t get much respect, and that could lead to reduced effectiveness and increased side effects.

Logging in to Your Therapy Session

By Elias Aboujaoude M.D. on October 20, 2015 Compulsive Acts
Will the Internet cure the shortage of mental health providers?

Is Depression a Normal Part of Aging?

By Kristin Hultgren on October 19, 2015 The Greatest Chapter
The majority of older adults do not suffer from depression, and belief in this myth may prevent older adults with depression from getting the treatment they deserve and desperately need.

Five Things to Know About Recovery From Alcohol or Drugs

Do not give up; there is always hope.

Why Do Clinicians Need to Know About Nutrition?

Every person can benefit from a holistic approach to restore mental health without the use of pharmaceuticals. The question the clinician must answer is: Who will choose to or be able to benefit from this approach?

Why Are Most Cancer Drugs So Expensive And So Ineffective?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on October 15, 2015 Saving Normal
Drug prices in the US are dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. The sky seems to be the limit as drug prices and profits grow astronomically—it's your money or your life. Most cancer drugs extend life only two months and cause painful side effects, but drug companies take advantage of monopoly pricing and trade on reasonable fears and unreasonable hopes.

Do Long-Acting Opioids Fight Addiction?

Some doctors prescribe long-acting opioids for their patients as an alternative to a large amount of short- or fast-acting painkillers. One reason the drugs were developed was to curb misuse of their fast-acting counterparts, which are more likely to be abused — recreationally or otherwise — and lead to addiction. But the problem is complex.

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.