A half-century of participant observation in psychiatry. Part III: psychopharmacology
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Uniwersytet Medyczny im. Karola Marcinkowskiego w Poznaniu, Klinika Psychiatrii Dorosłych, Zakład Pielęgniarstwa Psychiatrycznego
Submission date: 2020-07-13
Acceptance date: 2020-08-09
Online publication date: 2020-10-31
Publication date: 2020-10-31
Corresponding author
Janusz Rybakowski   

Uniwersytet Medyczny w Poznaniu
Psychiatr Pol 2020;54(5):845-864
The third part of the triptych of my 50-year activity in psychiatry is about psychopharmacology. This way of treatment changed the picture of contemporary psychiatry. The introduction of neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs and tricyclic antidepressants in the 1950s resulted in a therapeutic revolution and contributed to the ‛medicalization’ of psychiatry and its therapeutic similarity to other non-surgical specialties. Adiscovery of prophylactic lithium activity in the1960s initiated the mood-stabilizing drugs.During the last half-century, the most dynamic was the 1990s when most antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs of the so-called new generation were introduced. The twenty-first century marks a debut of next antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, some of the latter having long-acting injectable preparations. An interesting event was a demonstration of the antidepressant activity of ketamine. My research domain in psychopharmacology was lithium treatment of affective illnesses. Lithium makes the topic of many papers I authored, more than 150 of them are in the PubMed database. Many clinical and research aspects related to lithium administration have been reported as first in Polish literature and some are pioneering in the world. Recently, I wrote the book Lithium – the amazing drug in psychiatry which has also its English version. I have carried much research on antidepressant drugs, pharmacotherapy of treatment-resistant depression, and mood-stabilizing drugs for which I proposed a modern classification. I participated in European projects EUFEST and OPTIMISE on the optimization of using antipsychotic drugs in schizophrenia. I also performed much research on the antidepressant effect of ketamine and electroconvulsive therapy.
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