Psychopharmacology has made great strides in recent years. After the advent of Prozac (the “happy pill”), antidepressants have undergone countless changes and have now reached their third generation. Even if psychiatry has managed, over time, to increase its ability to treat mental illness, are the drugs it uses always effective? The author highlights both benefits and drawbacks of psychopharmacology and argues that science discourages the indiscriminate use of psychoactive substances. The text is instructive and stimulating, as it traces the history of medicine and (sometimes bizarre) remedies for treating mental illness and provides a thorough, research-based discussion concerning the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs as an alternative to psychotherapy in the treatment of sadness and depression.
Tullio Giraldi formerly taught Pharmacology and Neuropsycho- pharmacology at the University of Trieste and is a visiting professor at the Department of Social Science and Medicine at King’s College in London.