Psychopharmacology: A Brief Overview of Its History

Living reference work entry


People have used diverse types of drugs and other preparations to ease their physical pain and mental distress for thousands of years. The search for new, more effective drugs gathered pace during the nineteenth century, before a confluence of factors culminated in the birth of modern psychopharmacology in the early 1950s, heralded by the discovery of the first neuroleptic and antidepressant agents. The rapid expansion of the number of options for psychopharmacotherapy, particularly between 1950 and 1980, has radically transformed both basic and clinical neuroscience.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Journal of AustraliaSydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peter Riederer
    • 1
  1. 1.University Hospital, Center for Mental Health, Clinic and Policlinic for Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University WuerzburgWuerzburgGermany

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