Charles Shagass, ed. The Role of Drugsin Community Psychiatry


Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry (Series Editors: F.A. Freyhan, N. Petrilowitsch and P. Pichot) Volume 6. Karger, Basel, 1971. (128 pages)
Reviewed by Carlos Morra

CONTENT: This book is divided into twelve chapters, including an “Introduction” by the volume editor. In chapter two, “The Scope and Limits of Community Psychiatry”, David Goldberg focuses on the rapid expansion of the demand for psychiatric services in the mid-1960’s.  He points out that community mental health services are “satisfying a part of that need”. From the two chapters that follow, in one, “Drugs in Psychiatric Hospitals”, Jonathan Cole discusses the role that drug treatment has played in the move of psychiatric patients from hospitals into the community; and in the other, “Emergency Pharmacotherapy – the Role of Drugs in Psychiatric Crises,” Anthony Panzetts  points out that “crisis intervention is very much a part of the community psychiatric orientation” and “early case detection and treatment is within the preventive concern of the community psychiatry philosophy”.  Three chapters (numbers five, six and seven), deal with drugs in different settings: “Drugs in Outpatient Practice” by Karl Rickels; “Psychiatric Drugs in General Hospitals” by Albert S. Norris; and, “The Role of Drugs in Aftercare, Homecare and Maintenance,” by Else B. Kris.  Max Fink provides a special chapter on “Long–acting (Depot) Phenothiazines in Emergency and Maintenance Therapy of Psychoses” and Hunter H. Comly contributes a chapter  on  “Drugs in Child Psychiatric  Care.” For the remaining two chapters, James Anthony and Adolfo Rizzo give us “The Effect of Drug Treatment on the Patient’s Family” and Frederick Glaser offers, “The abuse and misuse of psychopharmacological agents “ and the “relevance of the problem to community psychiatry”. REVIEWER’S COMMENT: Several authors in this volume express uncertainty about the significance of pharmacotherapy in community psychiatry. They seem to be of the opinion that drugs alone do not provide an adequate solution to “major psychiatric problems” and “may create new difficulties”. Hence, they advocate, along with Charles Shagass, the editor of the volume, a “need to maintain a high level of psychological and social sophistication in clinical situations that may involve drug treatment”.


Carlos Morra

December 4, 2014