- 1. The use of drugs to treat mental and psychologic disorders. 2. The science of drug-behavior relationships. SYN: neuropsychopharmacology. [psycho- + G. pharmakon, drug, + logos, study] With the explosive advance of brain science since 1970 has come fuller understanding of the role that neurotransmitters play in emotion, mood, and psychologic states and of how errors in the synthesis or metabolism of these agents can cause or contribute to neurologic disease and mental illness. Using nucleotide-tagged molecules as probes, neurochemists have identified the major neural pathways and functions of many neurotransmitters, more than 60 of which are currently known. Building on this knowledge, neuropsychopharmacologists have succeeded in designing potent new psychoactive drugs. Most successful to date have been those for treating psychoses, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety states, and clinical depression.
* * *psy·cho·phar·ma·col·o·gy .sī-kō-.fär-mə-'käl-ə-jē n, pl -gies the study of the effect of drugs on the mind and behavior
* * *n.the study of the effects of drugs on mental processes and behaviour, particularly psychotropic drugs.
* * *psy·cho·phar·ma·col·o·gy (si″ko-fahr″mə-kolґə-je) 1. the study of the action of drugs on psychological functions and mental states. 2. the use of drugs to modify psychological functions and mental states.
Medical dictionary. 2011.