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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

ANTIPSYCHOTIC MEDICATION.

The modern era of the treatment of schizophrenia began with the serendipitous discovery of the antipsychotic properties of chlorpromazine in 1952. At that time “therapy” for schizophrenia consisted mainly of cold packs, restraints, sedatives, electric and chemical shock treatments, and frontal lobotomy. Most patients spent most of their lives receiving custodial care in large mental hospitals. The introduction of chlorpromazine (Thorazine) produced a remarkable change, allowing most patients to be treated as outpatients and permitting a massive exodus of patients from state hospitals.

Neuroleptics are much more effective in treating positive than negative symptoms (symptoms reflecting a loss of normal function such as a lack of interest, anhedonia, motor retardation, affective flattening, and sociality). Moreover, the effects on negative symptoms may be due to improvement in positive symptoms because some negative symptoms may be secondary to positive symptoms.

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology
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