Psychopharmacology

Does the treatment of mental illness intrigue you? Perhaps you'd like to work in the field of psychopharmacology as a psychiatrist, physician or medical scientist. Read on to explore this mental health field.

Inside Psychopharmacology

Psychopharmacology is the study of the effects of psychotropic medications in the treatment of mental illness. This is a complex field of study involving such topics as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics - how body chemistry affects medication and how medication affects the body. An understating of neuroscience and clinical medicine as well as the diagnosis and treatment options available to patients is paramount to the study of pharmacology. The American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) reports that physicians, psychiatrists and doctoral-level researchers are all considered psychopharmacologists (www.ascp.org).

Education Information

A career in psychopharmacology requires a high degree of education, typically a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Ph.D./M.D. combination if there is an interest is in scientific research. Requirements for an M.D. include four years of instruction, residency training and licensure. Other psychopharmacology programs are offered at the master's degree level and are specifically for nurses or licensed psychologists who are interested in prescribing psychotropic medications, which is regulated by some states. This type of master's degree may also be helpful for psychologists working alongside prescribing physicians. Review the following links for more details about relevant degree programs:

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