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May 1956


Author Affiliations

Cambridge, Mass.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;97(5):610-617. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250230104011

DURING the last two years there has been a great increase of interest in the use of drugs in psychiatry. Of course there is nothing new in the idea that drugs might alleviate mental ills. Caffeine has been used for centuries to produce euphoria, to increase flagging energies, to make a dull life bearable, and to make a strenuous life possible. The per capita consumption of coffee in the United States has risen from 6.5 lb. in 1853 to 16.9 lb. in 1953. One has only to observe how quickly radio commentators and the Congress react to a rise in the price of coffee to realize the widespread importance of neuropharmacology. Alcohol has another long and complex pharmacological and social history. Morphine formerly was extensively used in psychiatry. Later bromides took over. The first half of the 20th century has seen the rise (and perhaps the beginning of the fall) of the barbiturates.

Endocrine therapy was

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