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Since the introduction of chlorpromazine in 1955 revolutionized the treatment of psychotic illnesses, the search for the biologic basis of mental disorders has probed neurotransmitter, receptor, and neuroendocrine functioning and has widened to include such common problems as depression. This volume, which contains the proceedings of the January 1983 Arnold O. Beckman Conference in Clinical Chemistry, attempts to review the state of the art.
The book begins with a chapter by Gerald Klerman on the prevalence and impact of mental illness in society and consists primarily of papers by well-known clinical investigators discussing such issues as diagnostic classifications of depression, the thyroid axis in affective disorders, the uses of lithium and antidepressants, and the role of the clinical laboratory in the management of psychiatric illness. The collection includes a few papers by laboratory scientists addressing issues of current relevance to psychiatry such as multiple dopamine receptors and β-adrenergic receptor subtypes.