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Ostow, M. (1967). The Scientific Basis of Drug Therapy in Psychiatry. Proceedings of a Symposium Held at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London: Edited by John Marks and C. M. B. Pare. New York: Pergamon Press, 1965. 217 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 36:447-449.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:447-449

The Scientific Basis of Drug Therapy in Psychiatry. Proceedings of a Symposium Held at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London: Edited by John Marks and C. M. B. Pare. New York: Pergamon Press, 1965. 217 pp.

Review by:
Mortimer Ostow

The drugs that have become available in recent years for the treatment of mental illness trouble psychiatrists. They are obviously potent in their power to ameliorate illness, and also in their power to aggravate it. Therefore whether the patient improves or deteriorates depends upon the skill the psychiatrist can marshal in administering these agents. Unfortunately, practical and reliable criteria and indicators have not yet become working tools of most psychiatrists, and those that are available are difficult to use by psychiatrists who are not analytically trained. Therefore a number of books have been published in recent years that present collections of papers focusing on the subject that is the title of this book.

These collections resemble each other fairly closely. There are generally three groups of papers, as there are here. First, there is a set of essays on the pharmacologic chemistry of the various drugs, presented in this collection by Richter, Brodie, and Pletscher. These papers are well written, well organized, and scientifically sound. However the data provided offer little of practical use to the psychiatrist. Second, there is a set of papers describing the influence of these drugs on the behavior of experimental animals in a variety of artificial test situations. These are generally boring for the clinician since he can find almost no relation between the behavior elicited in the test situations and the pathologic behavior of the patient whom he treats. Third, there is a group of clinical papers in which the results of large scale tests are presented. These are the most frustrating papers of all because they so often contradict each other.

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