As we reported in early October, the British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with University College London’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has organized a Fall Seminar Series. The next speaker in the series is Joanna Moncrieff (left), of University College London. On Wednesday, November 9th, Moncrieff will be speaking on “Magic Bullets for Mental Disorders: The Evolution of Ideas about the Nature of Drug Treatment for Scizophrenia.” The abstract for the talk reads,
When ‘antipsychotic’ drugs were introduced into psychiatry in the 1950s, they were thought to work by inducing a state of neurological suppression, which reduced behavioural disturbance, as well as psychotic symptoms. This view was reflected in the name ‘neuroleptic’. Within a few years, however, the idea that the drugs were a disease-specific treatment for schizophrenia or psychosis, and that they worked by modifying the underlying pathology of the condition, replaced this earlier view, and they became known as ‘antipsychotics’. This transformation of views about the drugs’ mode of action occurred with little debate or empirical evaluation in the psychiatric literature and obscured earlier evidence about the nature of these drugs. Drug advertisements in the British Journal of Psychiatry reflect the same changes, although the non-disease-specific view persisted for longer. It is suggested that professional interests helped to facilitate the transformation of views about the nature of these drugs.
Full details on the seminar series can be found here.