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What is Psychopharmacology?

Psychopharmacology is the basis for the medical treatment of mental illness. As such, it raises ethical questions involving the rights of the mentally ill to determine their own course of treatment or to refuse medication, as well as the long-term risks of medications that produce short-term benefits.

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Based on the rapidly increasing body of chemical knowledge developed during the late nineteenth century, interest in drug therapy in the early twentieth century was high. Researchers experimented with insulin, marijuana, antihistamines, and lithium with varying success. The term "psychopharmacology," the study of drugs for the treatment of mental illness, dates to 1920. Before 1950, no truly effective drug ...

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Psychopharmacology specializes in the effects of drugs on the nervous system, emotion, thought, and ultimately, on behavior.