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Magic bullets for mental disorders: the emergence of the concept of an "antipsychotic" drug.

Moncrieff, J; (2013) Magic bullets for mental disorders: the emergence of the concept of an "antipsychotic" drug. J Hist Neurosci , 22 (1) 30 - 46. 10.1080/0964704X.2012.664847. Green open access

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Abstract

When "antipsychotic" drugs were introduced into psychiatry in the 1950s, they were thought to work by inducing a state of neurological suppression, which reduced behavioral 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 nondisease-specific view persisted for longer. It is suggested that professional interests rather than scientific merit facilitated the rise of the disease-specific view of drug action. The increasing popularity of atypical antipsychotics makes it important to examine the origins of the assumptions on which modern drug treatment is based.

Type: Article
Title: Magic bullets for mental disorders: the emergence of the concept of an "antipsychotic" drug.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/0964704X.2012.664847
Language: English
Additional information: © Joanna Moncrieff. Published with license by Taylor & Francis This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
Keywords: Advertising as Topic, Antipsychotic Agents, History, 20th Century, Humans, Mental Disorders, Psychiatry, Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia, Tranquilizing Agents
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427419
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