Psychopharmacology is the branch of science that develops and researches medications and their effects on mental disorders, human behavior, etc. Psychopharmacology deals with how the medication affects the body and how the body metabolizes each different medication. This branch of science is much more involved than simple pharmacology. Those who develop medications to treat mental disorders which can alter the chemical function of the brain must have a thorough understanding of many different branches of science; neuroscience, clinical medicine, and mental disorder diagnosis and management.

Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology

Psychiatrists and medical doctors are the only professionals that can prescribe these medications to their patients. Psychiatrists deal very closely with psychopharmacology since they will be prescribing medications to their patients to help treat and manage certain disorders at a higher rate than other medical professionals. Many psychiatric disorders have been properly managed with the use of carefully prescribed medications to adjust brain chemistry and lessen symptoms.

Psychiatrists will use their diagnoses and the symptoms that a patient is displaying to prescribe specific medications. Through follow up visits, the side effects and effectiveness of the medication will be monitored. Medication dosage and frequency will be altered as needed. Documentation and periodic blood tests may be necessary to track compliance and levels of the medication within the body. Abuse of many psychopharmacological medications can be a threat to health and well-being, so careful monitoring of psychopharmacological medications is completed by the prescribing psychiatrist or medical doctor.

How Psychopharmacology Affects The Brain

The study of clinical pharmacology allows medical professionals a better understanding of how medications can affect the human brain.

  • Neurotransmitters: Psychopharmacological medications modify neurotransmitters by changing the synaptic transmission in one or more ways.
  • Hormones: Psychopharmacological medications can alter hormone secretion and synthesis. This alteration can affect cells that normally receive “signals” from certain hormones.


Next Step

For information about Kentlands Psychotherapy’s comprehensive mental health care approach that includes, when appropriate, psychiatric evaluations for medications and associated prescribing services click here.