Adapted from the Preface of the Psychopharmacology: the Fourth Generation of Progress, published in 1995.

“This volume, Psychopharmacology: The Fourth Generation of Progress, seeks to redefine the scientific field of neuropsychopharmacology for its parent organization, The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.  The field’s definition has been constructed from the two interrelated bodies of work that comprise the major working arms of the College: the clinical investigation of psychiatry and neurological disorders in terms of their biologically defined mechanisms of pathogenesis, treatment and prevention; and the preclinical foundations of neuropsychopharmacology in terms of the essential signaling mechanisms by which neurons interact to perform the behavioral level operations of the brain and mental activity.  In these parallel tracks of effort, drugs are a tool to dissect the chemical signaling systems of the brain, as well as a means to restore functions disrupted by brain diseases.  The better the characterization of the clinical signaling systems, the more insightful will be the analyses of the drugs in their therapeutic assessment.

A slight departure of this book from its predecessor volume is the attempt to provide a more comprehensive overview of the clinical and preclinical arms of the field.  Here the approach is designed first to provide new scholars with overviews of preclinical and clinical psychopharmacology, and then more detailed coverage to understand the methods by which data in each of these arms are assessed in research.  The introductory sections provide a basis for the detailed coverage of the enormous amounts of progress that have been achieved since the previous volume. Finally, the coverage builds upon these foundations with assessments of the most recent cross-cutting issues.  There is internationally extensive cross-referencing between clinical and preclinical subjects.  The text is designed to allow experts in both spheres to find the latest assessments of progress, while also permitting the less experienced readers to increase their appreciation of the work underway.

By providing a road map to the linkages between the major topics of today’s research, the editors and authors hope to illuminate critically the most exciting discoveries, as well as to indicate the important gaps that need attention, while allowing room for the unexpected discoveries that will almost certainly emerge.”

Floyd E. Bloom, MD
David J. Kupfer, MD

Raven Press, New York, New York, 1995

Part I. Preclinical Section

Part II. Clinical Section