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Mood-stabilizers: the archeology of the concept


David Healy, North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, Hergest Unit, Bangor, LL57 2PW, UK.
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Objective:  To review the history of ‘mood-stabilizing’ treatments.

Method:  We have reviewed primary source data on the origin of the use of current mood-stabilizers.

Results:  This historical record on the origins of the mood-stabilizers points to a more ambiguous picture as regards pharmacotherapeutic specificity to bipolar disorders than is commonly conceded.

Conclusions:  This review suggests a need for alternative formulations of the concept of a mood-stabilizer. An alternative to the currently dominant paradigm is that these agents have treatment effects, which need to be matched more precisely with patients’ constitutional types in order to optimize outcomes.

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