(Review) The Curious History of Medicines in Psychiatry by Wallace B. Mendelson MD

The Curious History of Medicines in Psychiatry

Publisher and Publication Date: Pythagoras Press. January 18, 2020.
Genre: Nonfiction. Psychiatry. Medicine.
Pages: 118.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from the author, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers interested in  psychopharmacology.
Rating: Very good.

Amazon link
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22 illustrations

Dr. Mendelson’s website 
The Curious History of Medicines in Psychiatry is an explanation of how medications were developed for patients. At first they were by chance discoveries. After World War II, medications were created by changing the molecular chemical structure.
This is a carefully written book for people who want a better understanding of the history of medications given to people who have a mental health disorder.
The time period is post World War II with a focus of the 1950s to the 1990s.
There is an addendum giving sub stories on people and events briefly given previously in the book.
Included is a medical glossary.

My Thoughts:
This is the third book I’ve read and reviewed written by Dr. Mendelson. The other two books are Understanding Antidepressants and Understanding Medicines for Anxiety.

What I love about all his books.
•They are brief and to the point, which helps because the topics can become heavy with subject matter that goes over my head.
•Interesting information is added to the medical content that is about culture and society, or a short bio of a historical person.

What I love about The Curious History of Medicines in Psychiatry.
•I had several aha moments. For example, Lithium was originally used to treat gout. Later it was used to treat bipolar disorder. Chloroform was used during one of Queen Victoria’s labors (8th child). Acceptance followed.
•An interesting story about LSD.
•Scientists continued working towards discoveries even though they were told to cease. I’m so glad they persevered.



2 thoughts on “(Review) The Curious History of Medicines in Psychiatry by Wallace B. Mendelson MD

  1. I do find it fascinating learning the history of how scientific discoveries came out. I didn’t know that tidbit about Queen Victoria and chloroform either. This looks like an interesting book to read. Great review!


  2. There is still a lot of chance in the discovery of psychiatric medicines. In terms of the active development of psychiatric medicines drug companies are basically looking for drug targets whereby drugs could have some beneficial affect but where the drugs would not be fundamentally addressing the biology of mental illnesses. The biological bases of mental mental illnesses are still almost completely unknown.


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