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February 18, 1974

Biological Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons New York

JAMA. 1974;227(7):804. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230200062024

In just two decades biological psychiatry has grown from a purely clinical discipline involving relatively simple observations on the behavioral effects of the phenothiazines and Rauwolfia alkaloids to a complex amalgam of both basic and clinical data that, in addition to psychiatry, includes genetics, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, psychology, and internal medicine. Once it was possible to keep abreast of each new development, but the progressive flow of information from each discipline makes this no longer possible.

Dr. Mendels, recognizing this, has compiled and edited an excellent monograph, entitled simply Biological Psychiatry, that enlists the aid of a number of experts. From their efforts emerges by far the finest reference work in this area to date. Durell begins by discussing the factionalism in psychiatry with the original polarization into psychological and biological camps. A new eclecticism has forced the realization that both approaches are often necessary for the successful treatment of