Synopses & Reviews
Every day millions of people take psychiatric drugs. In Better Than Prozac
Samuel Barondes considers the benefits and limitations of Prozac, Ritalin, Valium, Risperdal, and other widely used medications and the ways that superior ones are being created.
In tracing the early history of these drugs Barondes describes the accidental observations that led to their discovery and their great impact on our view of mental illness. He goes on to show how their unexpected therapeutic effects were attributed to their influence on neurotransmitters that carry signals in the brain and how this guided their improvement.
But Barondes reminds us that, like the originals, current psychiatric drugs don't always work, and often have negative side effects. Furthermore, none were crafted as remedies for known brain abnormalities. In contrast, the design of the drugs of the future will be based on a different approach: an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that give rise to specific patterns of mental symptoms. Using colorful examples of contemporary research, he shows how it is gradually leading to a new generation of psychiatric medications.
A lucid evaluation of psychopharmacology, Better Than Prozac offers a deep understanding of psychiatric drugs for people who take them, those who are considering them, and those who are just fascinated by the powerful effects of these simple chemicals on our thoughts and our feelings.
- An eminent psychiatrist offers a cutting edge look at the past, present, and future of psychiatric drugs
In this lucid examination of psychopharmacology, an eminent psychiatrist offers a cutting edge look at the past, present, and future of psychiatric drugs.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 183-201) and index.
About the Author
Samuel H. Barondes, M.D.
is Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Professor and Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. A leading authority on the application of molecular biology to psychiatry, he is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and recently served as Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Mental Health. His books include Molecules and Mental Illness
and Mood Genes: Hunting for Origins of Mania and Depression
, both of which were selected by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives as among the 35 "Great Brain Books."