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May 28, 1982

Psychotropic Drugs in Psychiatry

JAMA. 1982;247(20):2834. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320450066045

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Psychotropic Drugs in Psychiatry is a collection of previously published essays on psychopharmacology by Michael Shepherd, one of England's leading psychiatrists and the editor of Psychological Medicine, one of the best-edited journals in the field of psychiatry.

Written over the 20-year period from 1956 to 1975, the essays provide testimony from a participant and observer to the phenomenal growth and impact of psychopharmacology on the treatment of the major mental illnesses. At the same time, they constantly urge the clinician and investigator to evaluate critically the claims being made, to improve the standards of evidence, and to keep in perspective the psychological and social therapies that have as much or more to offer some of the seriously mentally ill than the full range of psychotropic drugs.

The essays are organized into three sections. The first, "Drugs," includes five essays evaluating various systems of classification, reserpine as an antipsychotic, benzodiazepines as