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

Genes, Ions, and Other New Frontiers in Psychiatry

A gene related to ion channels common to many families with mental illness leads us to new discoveries and treatments based on actual brain pathology.

Do You Need Drugs for Your "Chemical Imbalance"?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Research reveals some surprising news about the role of serotonin in depression—and suggests millions of Americans taking drugs for depression would do just as well on placebo.

ADHD and Opioid Addiction

ADHD and substance abuse are commonly co-occurring disorders. Let's look into the correlation vs. causation.

Cannabis for Kids: Can Marijuana Treat Childhood Seizures?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on June 21, 2017 in Psych Unseen
Smoking marijuana may not be helpful for seizures, but new research suggests that cannabidiol may be.

When a Recovery Princess Needs a Harm Reduction Intervention

By Stanton Peele on June 20, 2017 in Addiction in Society
Carrie Fisher maintained the image of a drug recovery princess. The image itself may have been lethal.

Are Your Medications Giving You Nightmares?

By Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. on June 19, 2017 in Your Brain on Food
Given how widespread the use of many of these medications has become, it is amazing that most of us do not experience a nightmare every night.
Pixabay, via pexels

Sleep in Space

Beautiful, yes. Restful? Not so much.
Rob Hyronds/Shutterstock

New Promise for the Treatment of Schizophrenia

A new class of compounds that may be useful in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Six Things You Should Know About ADHD

A recent study, geared toward teachers promotes a new understanding of ADHD—a diagnosis that has been skyrocketing among American children.

Can E-Cigarettes Reduce Smoking Among the Mentally Ill?

Vaping is the new replacement for cigarette smoking. Is it a better choice?

When Distraction Is a Good Thing

By Nir Eyal on June 08, 2017 in Automatic You
Distractions are often seen as a bad thing, but that's not always the case. Here's how you can use distractions to your advantage.

MRI Scans to Choose Depression Treatment?

By Temma Ehrenfeld on June 06, 2017 in Open Gently
One day, brain scans may help patients pinpoint which depression treatment will work for them.

Our Drug Death Epidemic Is Worse than Ever

By Stanton Peele on June 05, 2017 in Addiction in Society
Our approach to addiction—as our epidemic of drug deaths accelerates—is itself addictive in as much as the responses we are drawn to in fact exacerbate the problem.

How Is Adult ADHD Treated With Medications?

Adult ADHD - What are the Treatments and Side Effects of the Medications?
freestock/pexels, used with permission

What Happens to Drugs?

What happens after drugs are released? A third get new warnings.

What Is the Best Way to Treat Depression?

When is psychotherapy the better option for relieving depression? When is medication called for? And is their combination always better than either one alone?

Reducing Drug Deaths: Heroin Injection by Appointment

By Stanton Peele on May 29, 2017 in Addiction in Society
There's a new addiction service coming to your town—safe injection sites. These sites offer us the main, perhaps the only, option for halting the growth in American drug deaths.
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The Healing Power of Placebos: Fact or Fiction?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on May 25, 2017 in Psych Unseen
Does new research really prove that placebos don't require deception?
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Six Important Truths About Depression

What not to say to someone with depression.

Treating Opioid Abuse: Focus on the Patient, Not Just Pain

"Drugs do not grab you and hold you in a bear hug."

Medication For Life

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on May 20, 2017 in Beyond Freud
Some people need medication to live. Are others put on unneeded medication for life?

What You Need to Know About Relationships and Recovery

It is helpful to resist the urge to "fix" your relationships, and keep the focus on making progress in your recovery. As you do, over time, your relationships will likely improve.
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Thinking of Anxiety as the Symptom, Not the Problem

Instead of seeking to get rid of anxiety immediately, we’re able to work with it, be with it, and understand it.

The "Furry Test Tubes" of Obesity Research

Mice are the most common animals now used in obesity research.They have many advantages for scientists who work with them but are far from perfect as a model for human beings.

Walking Through the Emotional Desert With Shaun Morgan

“You get super drunk or super high and you don’t feel anything. And that’s the whole point.”

When You Suspect Your Kid has a Substance Abuse Problem

If you find evidence that your child is using drugs or alcohol, here are some suggestions about how to take the next step and talk to your child.

Why Donald Trump Could Benefit From LSD Therapy

Research shows just one psychedelic therapy session can be a transformative experience that changes perspectives and reframes life priorities. What could it do for Donald Trump?

Sobering Truth About Addiction Treatment in America

By David Sheff on May 08, 2017 in Overcoming Addiction
People blame politicians, drug dealers, and pharmaceutical companies for the overdose crisis, but blame doesn't doesn't help people get well. The addicted need quality treatment.

Your Brain on Drugs - and Your Addiction Treatment Plan

Is the future of addiction treatment here? Recent neuroimaging studies suggest it might be.

Should Psychologists Be Allowed to Prescribe Medication?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on May 02, 2017 in So Sue Me
A new trend has emerged in the controversial RxP battle.