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Molecules and Mental Illness (Scientific American Library)

By Samuel H. Barondes
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Book Details
  • Author: Samuel H. Barondes
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1993-02-01
  • Edition: 1
Mental illness overwhelms its millions of victims with a variety of disabling symptoms, including extreme fearfulness, depression, and inability to distinguish the imagined from the real. In the late nineteenth century many psychiatrists, including the young Sigmund Freud, were convinced these disorders were biological in origin. But when Freud concluded that the knowledge and methods of that time were too limited to attack the complex problems of mental illness, he turned his attention to exploring its psychological aspects, setting a course that psychiatry would follow for many decades.
Today, supported by the huge growth of molecular, genetic, and cellular research, the biological approach to psychiatry is making tremendous strides. New tools for identifying the genetic causes of various psychiatric disorders have been developed, and the effects of drugs on mental processes can now be more accurately monitored. As a result, we are poised to achieve significant new levels of success in alleviating the suffering of the mentally ill.
In this wide-ranging and timely volume, Samuel Barondes describes the crucial role biological research is playing in modern psychiatry. A leading biologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Barondes explains the essential principles of human genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience, and psychopharmacology that are helping scientists and practitioners understand the biological roots of mental illness. He then describes ongoing advances in biological psychiatry, including the most recent pharmacological research into treatments for serious mood disturbances, extreme levels of anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Biologically oriented psychiatrists know that we are a long way from a complete understanding of serious mental disorders, and that drug treatments now being used are far from perfect. But as this enlightening volume demonstrates, there is much cause for hope for the victims of these grave disorders and their families.

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