University Of Tasmania

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Social context and health consequences of the antipsychotics introduction

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 17:32 authored by Kenneth KirkbyKenneth Kirkby
Background. From the vantage point of fifty years after the introduction of antipsychotics to clinical practice, this article examines the social context and health consequences of their introduction. Methods. Historical review of literature sources with commentary. Conclusions. The availability of antipsychotics over nearly half a century has powerfully influenced concepts of mental illness, dominant models of care versus control, health outcomes and side effect burdens. The large demand and economic success of antipsychotic medications is an important driver for research and development as well as sophistication in marketing. Regulatory agencies, funders and clinicians are faced with a moving target as indications for use of antipsychotics move well beyond the traditional core of schizophrenia and acute mania into depression, anxiety, behavioral disturbance with dementia and some forms of personality disturbance. The history of antipsychotics and mental illness is arguably being written as forcefully now, in an environment of rapid scientific change, as was the case in the 1960s era of rapid social change when chlorpromazine prompted a shift of emphasis from asylum to community. Psychosis is a challenge to how we interpret and approach our inner experiences and societal structures. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the history of antipsychotic drugs resonates with a lively interplay of social, health and economic issues and an ongoing quest to comprehend mental phenomena and their variants. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Inc.


Publication title

Annals of Clinical Psychiatry








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

Philadelphia USA

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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    University Of Tasmania