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  1. Timothy J. Bruce,
  2. Peter Alahi

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0745

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bruce, T. J. and Alahi, P. 2010. Psychopharmacology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria, IL

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychopharmacology, from the Greek psyche meaning “soul,” pharmakon meaning “drug,” and logos meaning “knowledge,” is the study of drugs that affect mood, cognition, and behavior. The field encompasses a range of topics including drug composition, properties, effects, interactions, toxicity, and therapeutic application (Stahl & Muntner, 2008). Two fundamental divisions of basic research in psychopharmacology are pharmacokinetics, what the body does to medication, and pharmacodynamics, what medication does to the body (Tozer & Rowland, 2006). Understanding these actions and the functions controlled by the affected neurotransmitter systems has advanced the field of psychopharmacotherapy, the clinical application of psychopharmacology for the treatment of mental and emotional problems (Janicak, Davis, Preskorn, Ayd, & Pavuluri, 2006).


  • psychopharmacology;
  • pharmacokinetics;
  • pharmacodynamics;
  • psychoactive medications;
  • psychopharmacotherapy