Psychopharmacology: The History, Techniques and Practical Application in Schizophrenia
Where would the world be without the use of medical drugs in psychology today? There is no question that the uses of drugs in psychology has aided in the abatement of the symptoms from mental disorders and causes relief for many people. With that being said the history, theorist, techniques and practical applications of psychopharmacology on schizophrenia are important part of psychological history.
Pharmacopsychology, a term now known as psychopharmacology, as defined by Psychology Today is the use of drugs such as antipsychotics and antidepressants to aid in the dissipation of symptoms that can accompany a mental disorder. The use of psychedelics as a treatment for mental discomfort is far from a new concept. For thousands of years many tribes and hunter-gatherer societies have favored the use of natural psychedelics. Depending upon the society, different plants and herbs where used for a variety of mental symptoms. . According to, Muller and Steinberg authors of The origin of pharmacopsychology: Emil Kreapelin’s experiments in Leipzig, Dorpat and Heidelberg (1882-1892), “the term “psychopharmacology” was first used in the early twentieth century, and the modern history of psychopharmacology starts with the synthesis of chlorpromazine in 1950”. Much like the societies before us, psychopharmacology started with the curative and recreational use of plant based drugs such as tea, coffee, coca leaves, tobacco, alcohol and opium.
As one of the founding researchers who experimented with the effects drugs have on the human psyche, Emil Kraepelin(1856-1926) played a pivotal role in the development of pharmacology in psychiatry. Kraepelin began his career as medical doctor however quickly after completing his medical dissertation he realized he wanted to pursue a career in psychiatry. This is when Kraeplin sought out and contacted the famous Wilhelm Wund, professor of philosophy and at that time and the head of the first experimental psychology laboratory. Kraeplain’s goal was to work on his postdoc under the guidance of Wilhelm Wundt and to secure a position for himself where he could research the use of “nervian(chloral hydrate, bromide, hashish or amyl nitrite…)on reaction time lengths, after the method of Dietl and Vintschgau” (Ulrich Muller, 2005) Kraeplin started his over ten year period of research under the guidance of Wundt from 1882-1883. Wundt was a big help to Kraeplin and was able to offer suggestions and aid in his research. During that period of more than ten years of researching, Kraeplin experiment with the most common recreational plants (coffee, tea and cocoa leaves) and the effects certain medical drugs (nervian) had on simple visual reaction times and cognitive functions on healthy volunteers. Though Kraeplin was not the first to perform such experiments his contributions have however been accredited...