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Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s$
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Gordon M. Shepherd MD, DPhil

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391503.001.0001

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Neuropsychiatry: The Breakthrough in Psychopharmacology

Neuropsychiatry: The Breakthrough in Psychopharmacology

(p.206) 15 Neuropsychiatry: The Breakthrough in Psychopharmacology
Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s

Gordon M. Shepherd

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the development of neuropsychiatry. Before 1950 the means to ameliorate psychiatric disorders were limited to psychoanalysis, on the one hand, and extreme treatments such as psychosurgery or electrical stimulation of the brain to produce convulsions, on the other. Mind was still conceived to be separate from body. This situation was radically changed by drug discoveries in the 1950s. For instance, the antischizophrenic drugs chlorpromazine, reserpine, and butyrophenones (haloperidol), caused dramatic quieting of schizophrenic patients, resulting in reduction or elimination of violent patients from hospital wards. Several classes of antidepression drugs (iproniazid, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclics) were discovered, which gave the first relief from this debilitating mental and emotional disorder. The efficacy of lithium in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder was also established.

Keywords:   development of neuropsychiatry, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, lithium

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