Meyer, Jerrold S.

Psychopharmacology : drugs, the brain and behavior / Jerrold S. Meyer, Linda F. Quenzer - Sunderland : Sinauer, 2004 - XVII, 555 p. ; 29 cm



In the preface to this book, the authors point out that for thousands of years humans have used psychoactive substances to modify their perceptions and mood. Indeed, some observers believe that such behavior may be a defining characteristic of the human condition. In contrast to the millennial history of drug taking, the era of scientific psychopharmacology is very short; perhaps its proper beginning can be dated to the middle of the 20th century. Since then, the rate of accrual of new knowledge in the field has increased enormously. (Figure) The authors aim to produce an introductory textbook on psychopharmacology and to convey some of the excitement that they find in this discipline. They attempt to create an integrated work, linking the basic principles of pharmacology, neurophysiology, and related neuroscience; the key features of the neurotransmitter systems; and the theories and mechanisms of related illnesses, including substance abuse and major psychiatric disorders. The authors have succeeded in reaching all these goals. They cover the important topics with great clarity, and the reader will find all the subjects accessible. "Hooks" at the beginning of each chapter -- such as an image of the title page of Uber Coca, Sigmund Freud's tribute to the virtues of cocaine -- catch the interest of the reader; the authors, while not compromising the thoroughness of their scientific explanations, have greatly enhanced the book's readability with this technique. A particular delight is that the book is sumptuously illustrated -- many of the illustrations are eye-catching and attention-grabbing. As with any first edition, there are one or two minor flaws in the writing and minor errors in the references. Available to qualified adopters of this textbook are special supplements -- a resource CD for instructors, which contains all the figures, illustrations, photographs, and tables from the book, as well as a test bank consisting of 50 questions per chapter. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn about psychopharmacology. Allan Hunter Young, M.D., Ph.D.



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