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May 1957

Neuropharmacologic Action of Rauwolfia Compounds and Its Psychodynamic Implications

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(5):513-518. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330350079012

The introduction of Rauwolfia alkaloids as antihypertensive drugs and as tranquilizing agents has produced a tremendous surge of optimism, sometimes uncritical, in regard to their virtues. It also has stimulated neurophysiologic and neuropharmacologic research. The clinical effect of these drugs has not been thoroughly investigated in a psychodynamic sense, nor have these effects yet been sufficiently correlated with the modern neurophysiologic concepts that attempt to explain complex adaptive behavior. This paper attempts to review pertinent literature relative to the neuropharmacologic action of Rauwolfia compounds, to report observations in a series of cases in which their effects were adverse to adaptive behavior, and to present a speculative hypothesis to explain these effects. It is hoped that such an effort may be helpful as the neurophysiologist and the practitioner of psychodynamics struggle from opposite ends of a long tunnel, groping in the dark toward a meeting place where the problems of consciousness,

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