Bibliography: Psychopharmacology

Alexander Shulgin, aka 'Dr Ecstacy'Last summer, we tested a bibliographic service at AHP that we hoped might help students find historical documents related to their research interests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the resources on Cannabis (~1000 visits since July) and LSD (~700 visits since August) have proven the most popular. But when we decided to focus more of our attention on providing news that would be of interest to subscribers (subscribe here), and devoted fewer resources to producing bibliographies for casual readers, a handful of these labor-intensive lists remained unpublished.

Now, though, in recognition of Alexander Shulgin’s profile in Scientific American (on the history of self-experimentation), we provide a capstone bibliography on the histories of Psychopharmacology and Pharmacopsychology. Among other things, this provides an alternative approach to research than that promoted by Shulgin:

“I take them [psychoactive substances] myself because I am interested in their activity in the human mind. How would you test that in a rat or mouse?”

It also serves as a supplement to the many related bibliographies we’ve produced over the past year: on Psychoactive drug use in psychology and Psychedelics and Psychology, as well as on Depression and Antidepressants.

Of course, that’s not all there is here. There are many other pages with bibliographies organized under the “resources” subject header on the blog’s main page.

Psychopharmacology & Pharmacopsychology.

  • Ayd, F. J. (1991). The early history of modern psychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology, 5(2), 71-84.

Reviews the contributions of researchers (including those of the author), therapy, manufacturing, and marketing in the early phase of modern psychopharmacology. The article focuses on chlorpromazine, reserpine, meprobamate, tricyclic antidepressants, combined neuroleptic/antidepressant therapy, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, haloperidol, benzodiazepines, and lithium. The formation of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) in 1957 is seen as the beginning of a new era of communication for and among psychopharmacologists, psychiatrists, pharmacologists, psychologists, and basic scientists.

  • Ban, T. A. (2001). Pharmacotherapy of mental illness–A historical analysis. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 25(4), 709-727.

Reviews the history of pharmacotherapy with psychotropics for mental illness. Drugs introduced during the first period (the second half of the 19th century) provided the means to replace physical restraint by pharmacological methods. Drugs introduced during the second period (the first half of the 20th century) virtually eliminated neurosyphilis and cerebral pellagra, and decreased the prevalence of dysmnesias. Drugs introduced during the present, ongoing third period provided effective treatments for mania, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. The heterogeneity of populations within the diagnostic categories has hindered progress in improving therapeutic effects. The introduction of genetic technology has opened the path for tailoring psychotropics to receptor affinities.

  • Ban, T. A. (2006). A history of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (1957-2004). Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 30(4), 599-616.

Recognition that one of the essential prerequisites of successful neuro-psychopharmacological research is a continuous dialogue between clinicians and basic scientists led to the founding of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) in Zurich on September 2, 1957. At the time, CINP was the only association in neuro-psychopharmacology. It was hoped that by organizing biennial congresses, it would facilitate the interaction among the many disciplines involved in the new field. It was also envisaged that discussion of findings in translational research would provide guidance for developing more selective and thereby more effective psychotropic drugs. These expectations were not fulfilled. In the years that followed, major developments in neuropharmacology without parallel development in the methodology of clinical investigations, created a widening gap between neuro- and psychopharmacology. Clinical interpretations of neuropharmacological findings filled in the missing information from translational research. In the 1980s, to facilitate the dissemination of these interpretations, CINP established Travel Awards for Young Investigators to assist them in attending the biennial meetings. In the 1990s, the college extended its activities by organizing other meetings, including president’s workshops, regional meetings, educational seminars and other programs. By the end of the 20th century CINP was a legal entity that was registered in Switzerland with domicile in Zurich. It had also become a financially secure organization with sufficient funds to support administration and coordination. In the early years of the 21st century CINP established a central office and a congress-organizing group. To meet the needs of its steadily growing membership from Asia, Australia and the Latin Americas, CINP has been regionalized. In order to regain its relevance to all its members it is hoped that CINP will return to its roots.

  • Bares, C. T. & Arrieta, D. E. (2005). Psicofarmacología: Una aproximación histórica. / Psychopharmacology: A historical approach. Anales de Psicología, 21(2), 199-212.

Psychopharmacology can be defined as a scientific discipline that studies drugs able to modify the behaviour and the mental function through its action on the neuroendocrine system. Pharmacology, biochemistry, psychiatry and psychology share their interest for this multidisciplinary field of knowledge, devoted to the analysis of the substances that alter those functions of the nervous system that are shown on the organism’s behaviour. This paper reviews the theoretical concept of psychopharmacology, and the main historical events that occurred in clinical psychiatry, laboratory pharmacological research, and behavioural studies conducted in both animals and human beings.

  • Baumeister, A. A. & Hawkins, M. F. (2005). Continuity and Discontinuity in the Historical Development of Modern Psychopharmacology. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 14(3), 199-209.

In the middle of the twentieth century psychiatry underwent a transition that is often referred to as the “psychopharmacology revolution.” Implicit in the term revolution is the idea that a paradigm shift occurred. Specifically, it has been argued that psychiatry abandoned the psychoanalytic paradigm in favor of a qualitatively distinct conceptual system based on brain chemistry. The validity of this view requires that psychoanalysis had the status of a paradigm. This paper presents evidence that psychoanalysis did not constitute a paradigm and that the advent of psychopharmacology was not, technically, a scientific revolution. Instead, the rise of modern psychopharmacology was the culmination of a linear growth of biological knowledge that began to develop in the nineteenth century.

  • Carlsson, A. (1990). Early psychopharmacology and the rise of modern brain research. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 4(3), 120-126.

Discusses how the discovery of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs and their modes of action affected biological psychology and neurology by catalyzing the concept of neurohumoral transmission into the central nervous system (CNS). Neurotransmitters are now a consideration in clinical brain research, and further research with 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor agonists should have implications for clinical practice.

  • Carlsson, A. (1999). Birth of neuropsychopharmacology–impact on brain research. Brain Research Bulletin, 50(5-6), 363.

Discusses the break-through discovery of novel psychopharmacological agents in the 1950s, and the ensuing birth of modern neuropsychopharmacology that paved the way for the concept of chemical transmission into the brain. New pathophysiological hypotheses regarding major neurological and psychiatric disorders have greatly stimulated neuropsychiatric research, including the initiation of a large number of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

  • Çetin, M. & Turgay, A. (2002). Modern Psikofarmakolojinin Ellinci Yilinda Klorpromazinden Günümüze Antipsikotik Tedavinin Dünü, Bugünü. / Antipsychotic treatment in the fiftieth year of modern psychopharmacology: An update. Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bülteni, 12(4), 211-226.

Though the first antipsychotic, chlorpromazine, was synthesized in 1950, its efficacy as an antipsychotic was established and published by Delay and Deniker in France, fifty years ago in 1952. For the last 50 years, hundreds of new antipsychotic drugs has been synthesized and used. Some of them were withdrawn from the market because of adverse effects. As with other scientific developments, many innovations in medicine were found as a result of coincidence. Two exciting examples in psychopharmacology are the first antipsychotic drug, chlorpromazine, and the first antidepressant, iproniazide. The mechanisms of action of these emprically developed drugs were established by later research and started to be understood in 1980s. However, controversial points still exist. The aim of this article is to describe the fifty years of developments in antipsychotic drug treatment, and to focus on current opinions on the mechanisms of action of antipsychotics, variations in efficacy, and adverse effects of these drugs based on recent literature.

  • Elkes, J. (1995). Psychopharmacology: Finding one’s way. Neuropsychopharmacology, 12(2), 93-111.

Traces the historical development of psychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology emerged after the 1950s due to major clinical discoveries. It developed as a new science through the interaction of neurochemistry, electrophysiology, studies of animal behavior and the refinement of clinical trials. The emergence of concepts of regional chemistry of the brain was particularly significant. Psychopharmacology was ideally positioned to act as an intermediary between classical pharmacology and quantum biology. The transdisciplinary nature of psychopharmacology, at present, provides a template for a comprehensive psychiatry of the future. Future discoveries in the field will pose an ethical dilemma for medicine hence medicine should be ready for these responsibilities.

  • Goldman, D. (1989). History of psychopharmacology in North America. Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 14(1), 266-267.

Describes the history of psychopharmacological discoveries in the US and Canada, focusing on the impact of the development of chlorpromazine and reserpine, the establishment of the National Institute for Mental Health in 1957 and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 1961, and the effects of psychopharmacology on the overall treatment of mental illness.

  • Healy, D. T. (1990). The psychopharmacological era: Notes toward a history. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 4(3), 152-167.

Reviews cultural and economic influences on the psychopharmacological era for the past 30 yrs. The influences and motives of the pharmaceutical industry are explored. The belief that clinical advances are made through the heroic achievements of disinterested scientists is a simplistic view that may militate against future significant discoveries. Such discoveries mostly come about serendipitously, despite the belief that psychopharmacology has become a rational science.

  • Healy, D. (1993). 100 years of psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 7(2), 207-214.

Presents a brief history of psychopharmacology, in particular the pharmacopsychology of E. Kraepelin. The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology are also discussed.

  • Köknel, Ö. (2002). Modern Psikofarmakolojinin Ellinci Yilinda Türkiye’ de ve Dünyada Psikofarmakoloji ve Psikofarmakolojik Arastirmalarin Tarihçesi. / At the fiftieth anniversary of the history of modern psychopharmacology and psychopharmacological researches in Turkey and in the world. Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bülteni, 12(4), 201-210.

The history of psychiatric disorders affecting the mental status of patients and drugs used in their treatments goes back to the beginning of human history. To evaluate the current status of psychiatry and psychopharmacology in Turkey and in the world, we should review the first appearance and evolution of these concepts in human history. In this article, the author assesses the pioneers who made prominent historical contributions to the development of psychopharmacology in Turkey and the world, and to the agents developed during this period that further contributed to psychopharmacological innovation.

  • Lehmann, H. E. (1993). Before they called it psychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology, 8(4), 291-303.

Presents a history of the terms psychopharmacology and psychopharmacotherapy. The author’s own findings in the psychiatric world of the 1940’s and 1950’s are discussed (e.g., research on yawning, N-sub-2O inhalation as a treatment for depression). The “new” drugs of the 1940’s and 1950’s are also discussed.

  • Manor, I. & Tyano, S. (2001). Psychopharmacology and psychotherapy: The nexus serpents. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 3(1), 5-16.

The integration of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology is discussed here from a historical perspective and various theoretical points of view. The authors present these theories while connecting the two worlds. The authors suggest that the therapeutic process be grasped as a synthetic or globular one, and not a practical cause-and-effect process.

  • Mora, G. (1989). Historical antecedents of modern psychopharmacology. Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 14(1), 279-281.

Discusses the contributions of a work on hashish by the French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours to the development of modern psychopharmacological research and theory on mind-altering drugs. Freud’s accounts of the effects and potential value of cocaine are also regarded as a foundation of the discipline.

  • Marchais, P. (2002). Rôle de la Société médico-psychologique dans l’évolution des connaissances en psychiatrie. / Role of the Medical-Psychological Society in the evolution of psychiatric knowledge. Annales Médico-Psychologiques, 160(10), 739-745.

Discusses the involvement of the French Medical-Psychological Society in the development of psychiatric knowledge. Its participation in scientific “revolutions” (notably in the field of psychopharmacology) and in changes in the general orientation to psychiatry is documented.

  • Moriarty, K. M., Alagna, S. W., & Lake, C. R. (1984). Psychopharmacology: An historical perspective. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 7(3), 411-433.

Defines psychopharmacology as the study of the effects of psychoactive substances on behavior, including the expert use of drugs in the treatment of psychiatric conditions. The field has matured only in the last 30 yrs, which may explain why current theories of the biologic causes of mental illness remain tentative. Nevertheless, advances in treatments of the functional psychoses have dramatically reduced the number of psychiatric inpatients and controlled the psychotic symptoms of the seriously mentally ill, allowing many to live more normal and productive lives. The drugs do not help everyone, and there are sometimes serious and irreversible side effects. It is suggested that the physician should treat destructive drug dependencies effectively and be careful not to cultivate dependencies.

  • Müller, U., Fletcher, P. C., & Steinberg, H. (2006). The origin of pharmacopsychology: Emil Kraepelin’s experiments in Leipzig, Dorpat and Heidelberg (1882-1892). Psychopharmacology, 184(2), 131-138.

This historical review shows that the early history of cognitive psychopharmacology, originally labelled as “pharmacopsychology”, is closely linked to developments in experimental psychology and academic psychiatry. At the beginning of his scientific career, the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) joined Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory of experimental psychology at the University of Leipzig. Although Kraepelin was fired from his clinical position at the university’s psychiatric hospital, he completed his habilitation, the German equivalent of Ph.D., and started a series of pharmacological investigations in healthy volunteers using common recreational drugs (alcohol, coffee, tea) or medicinal products (amyl nitrite, chloral hydrate, chloroform, ethyl ether, morphine, paraldehyde) together with innovative psychological tasks. This paper reviews Kraepelin’s pharmacopsychological research and his methodological innovations, providing translations, for the first time, from original papers, his monograph On the Modulation of Simple Psychological Processes by Some Medicines and from other sources. Kraepelin’s contributions to psychopharmacology and clinical neuropsychology were far ahead of his time and his conceptual achievements have been largely neglected by modern psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience.

  • Pérez-Rincón, H. (1990). La psicofarmacología. / Psychopharmacology. Salud Mental, 13(1), 15-18.

The emergence of psychopharmacology has been called the third revolution of psychiatry. The contributions of A. L. Bayle, J. G. Beillarger, H. C. Claude, G. H. Clerambault, J. Moureau de Tours, P. Guiraud, J. Delay, and H. Ey are discussed along with other clinical developments of the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Rollin, H. R. (1990). The dark before the dawn. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 4(3), 109-114.

Reviews the state of British mental hospitals in the 1930s, noting the introduction of such “treatments” for schizophrenia as lobotomy and insulin therapy. The discovery of electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) was the one true progressive therapy of this period. The 1950s brought the era of psychopharmacology, and since that time there has been a constant stream of so-called psychotropic drugs.

  • Sarwer-Foner, G. J. (1989). The psychodynamic action of psychopharmacologic drugs and the target symptom versus the anti-psychotic approach to psychopharmacologic therapy: Thirty years later. Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 14(1), 268-278.

Reviews scientific developments in the early days of psychopharmacology against the background of therapeutic milieus and hospital settings in the early 1950s and philosophical and treatment views of that period. Differences between private and public hospitals are noted, and the effect of research that established the psychodynamic actions of psychotropic drugs is explored. The “target symptom” therapeutic approach is described and compared with the “antipsychotic” view. Issues related to psychopharmacological research designs, models of therapeutic specificity, and good and poor public health treatment models are considered, along with the implications of neuroleptic drugs for schizophrenia.

  • Schmied, L. A., Steinberg, H., & Sykes, E. A. B. (2006). Psychopharmacology’s Debt to Experimental Psychology. History of Psychology, 9(2), 144-157.

The role of experimental psychology in the development of psychopharmacology has largely been ignored in recent historical accounts. In this article the authors attempt to redress that gap by outlining work in early experimental psychology that contributed significantly to the field. While psychiatrists focused on the therapeutic nature of drugs or their mimicry of psychopathology, experimental psychologists used psychoactive drugs as tools to study individual differences in normal behavior as well as to develop methodologies using behavior to study mechanisms of drug action. Experimental work by Kraepelin, Rivers, and Hollingworth was particularly important in establishing drug-screening protocols still used today. Research on nitrous oxide and on the effects of drug combinations is discussed to illustrate the importance of experimental psychology to psychopharmacology.

  • Sneader, W. (1990). The prehistory of psychotherapeutic agents. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 4(3), 115-119.

Discusses the uses of psychotherapeutic agents from ancient times, up to the 20th century. In the past, treatment substances were selected in an effort to deal with mental disturbance (i.e., they were not serendipitous discoveries), and they included treatments based on humoral therapeutics, the administration of herbs and minerals, opiate therapy, the use of camphor, and bromide therapy.

  • Tone, A. (2005). Listening to the Past: History, Psychiatry, and Anxiety. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(7), 373-380.

This article explores the history of psychiatry and the rise of biological psychiatry and suggests ways in which the study of history can shed light on current psychiatric practice and debate. Focusing on anxiolytics (meprobomate in the 1950s and benzodiazepines in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s) as a case study in the development of psychopharmacology, it shows how social and political factors converged to popularize and later stigmatize outpatient treatments for anxiety. The importance of social context in the creation of new therapeutic paradigms in modern psychiatry suggests the need to take into account a broad range of historical variables to understand how modern psychopharmacology has emerged and how particular treatments for disorders have been developed, diffused, and assessed.

  • Uhlenhuth, E. H., Lipman, R. S., & Covi, L. (1969). Combined pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 148(1), 52-64.

Summarizes controlled studies on combined pharmacotherapy (chronic dosage) and psychotherapy in the literature since 1950. Studies purportedly or actually comparing the effects of combined treatment with the effects of either treatment alone are included. Major and minor tranquilizers, group and individual psychotherapy, and schizophrenic and psychoneurotic patients are relatively well represented, along with single studies dealing with insulin, antidepressants, and depressed patients.

See also:

  • Eisenberg, L. (1986). Mindlessness and brainlessness in psychiatry. British Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 497-508.

Suggests that the direction of psychiatry indicates that the discipline may come to focus exclusively on the brain as an organ and to overlook the experience of the patient as a person. The lineage of American psychiatry is traced from its origins in asylum treatment to the recent discovery of psychoactive drugs and the impetus that this discovery provided for research in neurobiology. The author offers a parable on the impact of the new biotechnology on the way psychiatrists work and how they think about their work. For instance, the craze for biomedical tests is linked to increasing competition from nonmedical mental health providers for 3rd-party reimbursement. The author argues that diseases of the brain and problems of living are overlapping categories and that brain pathology does not in itself account for all of a patient’s problem. Specific evidence for this argument is offered for cases of depression, panic disorder, and schizophrenia.

  • Fink, M. (1984). Pharmacoelectroencephalography: A note on its history. Neuropsychobiology, 12(2-3), 173-178.

Discusses the development of the EEG by H. Berger (1929) and its application to drug effects and behavior. EEG quantification, pharmaco-EEG applications, and the history of the international pharmaco-EEG group and its future are reviewed. It is suggested that pharmaco-EEG has developed from a descriptive art without a theoretical foundation to a quantitative science.

  • Kršiak, M. (1991). Ethopharmacology: A historical perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 15(4), 439-445.

Ethopharmacology is the study of behavioral and other effects of drugs through the use of ethological concepts. The study of drug effects on natural action patterns (motor acts and postures listed in ethograms), with respect to natural settings and to behavior as a whole (all identifiable behaviors occurring during the measurement) represents the basic concepts of ethopharmacology. Although pioneers drew attention to the potential of the ethological approach in pharmacology in the early 1960s, the number of publications utilizing this approach has steadily grown only since the mid-1970s. In the 1980s, modern technology, such as videorecorders and microcomputers, has been more widely applied in ethopharmacological experiments, facilitating the observation and quantitative analysis of multiple data. Ethopharmacology is not another behavioral pharmacology, but an integral part of it.


About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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