Neurobiologic Theories and Psychopharmacology
ALTHOUGH MUCH REMAINS UNKNOWN about what causes mental illness, science in the past 20 years has made great strides in helping us understand how the brain works and in presenting possible causes of why some brains work differently from others. Such advances in neurobiologic research are continually expanding the knowledge base in the field of psychiatry and are greatly influencing clinical practice. The psychiatricâ€“mental health nurse must have a basic under-standing of how the brain functions and of the current theo-ries regarding mental illness.
The use of medications to treat mental illness (psychop-harmacology) is related to these neurobiologic theories. These medications directly affect the central nervous system (CNS) and, subsequently, behavior, perceptions, thinking, and emotions. Although pharmacologic interventions are the most effective treatment for many psy-chiatric disorders, adjunctive therapies, such as cognitive and behavioral therapies, family therapy, and psychotherapy, greatly enhance the success of treatment and the clientâ€™s out-come.