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Psychopharmacology

Thomas Gazda, MD, trained full-time in medicine for 10 years after he earned his bachelor’s degree. He earned his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, followed by three years of residency in family practice and three years in psychiatry. Board-certified in psychiatry and family practice, Dr. Thomas Gazda today practices as a psychopharmacologist.

The study of the effect of drugs on thinking, sensation, behavior, and mood, psychopharmacology concentrates primarily on the chemical reactions that take place in the brain. Its practitioners frequently use various drugs to treat mental disorders. Because the body of knowledge in the field is constantly expanding, practitioners must continually stay abreast of current developments.

Psychopharmacologists work with many substances that have psychoactive properties. These include anesthetics, analgesics, and anticonvulsant drugs. Psychotropic medications are grouped into several categories according to the disorder for which they were developed; these categories include mood stabilizers, stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety and antipanic agents, and antiobsessive medications.

Psychopharmacologists must be thoroughly trained medical doctors, as they diagnose disorders and rule out physical causes for disorders. In addition, they must be knowledgeable of all the body’s systems and functions to be able to interpret and treat anticipated as well as unexpected side effects.

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