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Pharmacotherapy and Behavior Therapy

Description of the Strategy

In general, pharmacotherapy involves the use of drugs to improve behavior, whereas behavior therapy involves the use of procedures based on principles of learning to achieve the same objective. Drugs that are intended to improve mood, cognitive status, or overt behavior are termed psychotropic drugs. Since the 1950s, when the first generally effective antipsychotic drug, chlorpromazine (Thorazine), was introduced, psychotropic drugs have played a major role in treating adults with a wide range of behavior disorders. Dozens of different psychotropic drugs currently are available, and millions of prescriptions are written for them. With few exceptions, pharmacotherapy is under the control of psychiatrists and other physicians.

Not surprisingly, therefore, discussions of pharmacotherapy often are couched in terms of a medical ...

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