Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness


How have medications influenced the treatment of the mentally ill?

Modern advances in psychopharmacology (psychiatric medication) have radically changed the lives of the mentally ill. Once doomed to a life of anguish, utter dysfunction, and often squalid conditions, many people with mental illness can now live satisfying lives in the community. Although modern psychopharmacology has brought tremendous benefits, it is not without complications.

All medications have side effects, some of which can be quite dangerous. Secondly, the drugs are only effective if they are taken as prescribed. Non-adherence to medication is probably the single greatest reason for treatment failure. Finally, clinical trials (research into the efficacy and safety of certain medications) are extremely expensive. Because of this, they are currently covered primarily by private industry, specifically the pharmaceutical industry, whose profit motive leaves them far from impartial. Consequently, some professionals and patients are concerned about the safety of taking medications, especially for long periods of time.


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