Neuropsychopharmacology (from Greek νεῦρον, neuron, "nerve"; ψυχή, psyche, "mind", "soul"; φάρμακον, pharmakon, "poison in classic Greek; drug in modern Greek" and the suffix -λογία, -logia, "study of") is an interdisciplinary science related to psychopharmacology (how drugs affect the mind) and fundamental neuroscience. It entails research of mechanisms of neuropathology, pharmacodynamics (drug action), psychiatric illness, and states of consciousness. These studies are instigated at the detailed level involving neurotransmission/receptor activity, bio-chemical processes, and neural circuitry. Neuropsychopharmacology supersedes psychopharmacology in the areas of "how" and "why", and additionally addresses other issues of brain function. Accordingly, the clinical aspect of the field includes psychiatric (psychoactive) as well as neurologic (non-psychoactive) pharmacology-based treatments.
Developments in neuropsychopharmacology may directly impact the studies of anxiety disorders, affective disorders, psychotic disorders, degenerative disorders, eating behavior, and sleep behavior.
The rigorous way fundamental processes of the brain are being discovered is creating a field on par with other “hard sciences” such as chemistry, biology, and physics, so that eventually it may be possible to repair mental illness with ultimate precision. An analogy can be drawn between the brain and an electronic device: neuropsychopharmacology is tantamount to revealing not only the schematic diagram, but the individual components, and every principle of their operation. The bank of amassed detail and complexity involved is huge; mere samples of some of the details are given in this article.
This account hangs on the assumption that materialism, the view that all mental states are reducible to brain states, is true.
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