Thomas A. Ban: Psychopharmacology
Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1969

Leon S. Morra’s Extracts - 2
Part One, Chapter One: General Principles


            Psychopharmacology is presented in three parts (1. General Psychopharmacology, 2. Systematic Psychopharmacology and 3. Applied Psychopharmacology), consisting of a total of 21 chapters.          

            In Chapter One (General Principles), first the source of psychoactive substances is outlined: “In the not so distant past the majority of psychoactive drugs were obtained from naturally occurring minerals, plants and animals. Only very few were made synthetically. The physician had the difficult task of selecting through his knowledge of botany, for example the proper plants from which to make his crude drug preparations. With advancing chemical technology, the picture has change. At present, not only are we replacing naturally occurring drugs with synthetically manufactured substances, but also most of our therapeutic chemicals are  no longer found in nature.”

            “Basically there are four major approaches in the search for new psychotherapeutic drugs. First, there is the rational approach. This approach is based on the established knowledge of the fundamental pathology involved.”  …“A second approach is to isolate the active principle of naturally occurring substances which has been found empirically, to be therapeutically useful.”  …“A third approach is based on attempts to ’imitate’ chemicals which are already therapeutically well established.”  ...“Finally, there is random screening of various preparations in an attempt to find therapeutic substances.”

            “By investigating the effects of psychoactive substances and the mechanism by which they produce or counteract psychopathological phenomena, psychopharmacological research provided a method which not only unselectively extends the information of the behavioral, psychophysiological, neurophysiological and neurochemical correlates of clinical symptoms, but also is instrumental in directing attention to the functional pathology involved.”   

Leon S. Morra

February 16, 2017