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June 1993

Clinical Psychopharmacologic PracticeThe Need for Developing a Research Base

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50(6):491-494. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820180093010

The advent of psychotropic drugs has enormously improved psychiatric care. Nonetheless, our practice is not optimum. Current knowledge is not regularly applied. It has been repeatedly shown that the majority of patients with psychiatric illness go undiagnosed, and even if diagnosed, they are inappropriately or ineffectively treated, both by clinical psychiatrists and by primary care practitioners. Improved care depends on practitioner education, often referred to as "technology transfer."

However, this article emphasizes that optimal practice also requires a vastly increased database that differs sharply in content from current data production. Necessary facts are still not known with regard to many aspects of clinical practice.

THE PROBLEMS OF THE CLINICIAN  The clinical psychiatrist has the responsibility for diagnosing the condition of the patient, understanding the patient's developmental and current contexts, deciding on a proper course of treatment, educating the patient and family with regard to the illness and proposed course of

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