Nutt, David J. Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.
Carlton, Peter L. Department of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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A discipline that merges psychology—the study of cognition, emotion, and behavior—and pharmacology, which characterizes the effects of drugs. Psychopharmacology is a field of psychology that investigates the use of drugs and medications to treat mental disorders (Fig. 1). In focusing on understanding drugs that affect brain processes, especially thinking, feeling, and action, with a particular emphasis on those drugs that affect abnormalities in thought, affect (mood), and behavior, psychopharmacology is closely related to psychiatry. Understanding the effects of drugs on psychological processes entails examining the regulation of these drugs by neurotransmitters because drugs mediate their actions through changing these transmitters. See also: Brain; Emotion; Mental disorders; Neurobiology; Pharmacology; Pharmacy; Psychology; Psychotherapy
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