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  • Cited by 90
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2021
Print publication year:
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Book description

Long established as the preeminent source in its field, the eagerly anticipated fifth edition of Dr Stahl's essential textbook of psychopharmacology is here! With its use of icons and figures that form Dr Stahl's unique 'visual language', the book is the single most readable source of information on disease and drug mechanisms for all students and mental health professionals seeking to understand and utilize current therapeutics, and to anticipate the future for novel medications. Every aspect of the book has been updated, with the clarity of explanation that only Dr Stahl can bring. The new edition includes over 500 new or refreshed figures, an intuitive color scheme, fourteen new uses for older drugs and eighteen brand new drugs, coverage of Parkinson's Disease Psychosis, behavioural symptoms of dementia, and mixed features in major depressive episodes, and expanded information on the medical uses of cannabis and hallucinogen assisted psychotherapy.


‘The opportunity to review and comment on Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology, 5th edition, is truly a pleasure. The depth and comprehension of this edition reads like a fresh view of everything we would want to know in the area of psychopharmacology, including the integration of basic and clinical neuroscience information. The clarity as a teaching tool for any level of education and sophistication is remarkable, just as is the ease of reading and enjoying the unique set of figures and tables. The book represents a departure from the usual fare that we are offered as we delve into the mysteries of our body. In short, this 5th edition is not a simple reworking of earlier editions but really a brand new view. It represents a model for the way that we should cover other areas of neuroscience.’

Ellen Frank - Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

‘Can you improve on a classic psychopharmacology textbook? Yes! Updated, restyled, and with enhanced illustrations, this 5th edition of Stephen Stahl’s ‘must have’ text is comprehensive, readable, and beautifully presented.’

‘This new edition of a classical textbook is superb. Unlike most other volumes on psychopharmacology, it is organized around biological mechanisms, and uses that framework to review the latest research. Another unique feature is its use of wonderfully reader-friendly illustrations, bringing to life many pathways that would otherwise be difficult for the non-specialist to understand.’

Joel Paris - M.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University and Author of Nature and Nurture in Mental Disorders: A Gene-Environment Model

‘Psychopharmacology has always benefitted from a virtuous cycle of science informing clinical practice and clinical questions driving the science, an approach now often called ‘Translational Medicine’. However, this approach does present challenges for those who wish to learn about or keep up with such a diverse, rich, and rapidly evolving knowledge base. Essential Psychopharmacology admirably meets these needs covering all relevant fields of Psychopharmacology in an expertly informed and accessible way. Previous editions have established Essential Psychopharmacology as a vital introductory and reference text for the students and practitioners of psychopharmacology and for all scientists with an interest in the field. The latest edition follows its predecessors and will undoubtedly be a vital resource for all those interested in this fascinating discipline.’

Allan Young - Chair of Mood Disorders, Director of the Centre for Affective Disorders, Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London

‘This book is a must for anyone who would like to dive into psychotropics and get a state-of-the-art knowledge in a clear, elegant, and accessible platform. Professor Stahl has managed to provide simple, yet accurate, cutting-edge concepts using creative and innovative graphics and design. In this regard, it’s presenting the perfect marriage of contemporary neuroscience knowledge with outstanding accessibility. I found this book extremely useful for well-informed clinicians as well as colleagues who are starting to practice psychiatry and recommend it as an essential addition for all mental health professionals as well as for general practitioners with interest in psychiatry.’

Joseph Zohar - Director of Psychiatry and the Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Clinic at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, Israel and Professor of Psychiatry at Tel Aviv University, Israel

‘Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology is without a doubt the leading textbook on the neuroscientific basis of psychopharmacology. This 5th edition is extensively revised and updated to incorporate the latest advances in neuroscience relevant to psychopharmacology. Dr. Stahl has distilled the latest advances in neuroscience to fully revamp this edition. Dr. Stahl’s talent is to make complex ideas deceptively easy to grasp. This is no small feat. He does it with pithy explanations, clear diagrams, and memorable analogies. There are many textbooks in the field, but this stands out in the clarity of explanation and cutting-edge neuroscience. True to its name, it is essential reading for psychiatrists, primary care physicians, students, and other professionals treating patients with mental illnesses. It will also be useful for trainees and neuroscientists. In short, Dr. Stahl does it again!’

Oliver Howes - MRCPsych, Ph.D., DM, Professor of Molecular Psychiatry, King’s College London and Imperial College London

‘Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology has lived up to its name as ‘essential’ reading for generations of psychiatrists and other professionals involved in the prescription of psychotropic medication at various levels of skill. The current edition is even more remarkable than its predecessors for its ability to provide useful and indeed essential information at multiple levels of expertise. It is remarkable that something as readable and as approachable at a very basic level can still be incredibly informative to even the most experienced and expert psychopharmacologists. This edition has done what I thought would be impossible in significantly improving on past editions and in producing something that is even more readable and informative to people with a vast range of experience.’

Richard J. Porter - Professor of Psychiatry, Head of the Department Psychological Medicine and Director of the Mental Health Clinical Research Unit, University of Otago

‘Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology, 5th edition, is truly the preeminent textbook on the pharmacology of psychotropic drugs. It is comprehensive but very readable to both students and practitioners alike. Dr. Stahl is not only an excellent scientist but also a superb educator, providing a deep understanding of both disease states and drug mechanisms. His unique combination of visual and verbal material makes even the most complex topics approachable. This 5th edition has been extensively revised with hundreds of new or revised figures, information on 18 new medications, and dozens of other additions or changes. Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology will remain the only pharmacology textbook I recommend to my trainees.’

Richard C. Shelton - Charles Byron Ireland Professor, Director, UAB Depression and Suicide Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Neurobiology, Director of Research, UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, School of Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

‘Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology is a classic in the field, which is unique in providing not only excellent teaching about mechanisms of drug action through the use of attractive and innovative icons but also a sense of the actual clinical experience of tailoring therapeutic drug choices to psychiatric symptom profiles.’

Trevor W. Robbins - Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

‘Steve Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology is a classic, used by clinicians, students, and researchers throughout the world. For clinicians it’s practical, for students it’s clear, and for researchers it’s innovative. Stahl is an experienced clinician, and his text is filled with useful pearls. Stahl is an expert on the principles of medical education; these inform the text and figures, and contribute to their extraordinary impact. Finally, Stahl is a creative researcher, and his framework for thinking about psychiatric medications provides the field with an innovative approach. The 5th edition of the volume is timely, given ongoing work in the field, and has been thoroughly updated to reflect recent advances.’

Dan Stein - Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town

‘Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology, 5th edition, is a masterpiece of impeccable scholarship and the art of education. Signature to Dr. Stahl is this book’s tremendous expanse of knowledge that provides not only the science but also clarity in understanding complex concepts of psychiatric psychopharmacology. Dr. Stahl has demonstrated yet again that he is the ‘people’s educator.’’

Roger S. McIntyre - M.D., FRCPC, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Canada Head, Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit and Chairman and Executive Director, Brain and Cognition Discovery Foundation (BCDF), Toronto, Canada

‘Since its inception, Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology has been a real treasure for those learning and teaching psychopharmacology and the neuroscience of mental disorders. As a clinician and medical teacher I have used and warmly recommended each of the four earlier editions. However, this new 5th edition is the best yet and resets the bar again for textbooks in this field. It has been extensively revised and brought completely up-to-date throughout and covers the entire field comprehensively while retaining the clarity and ease of learning it is famous for. It has been impressively updated with a new color scheme and a wealth of new figures and captions, so that the book is not only comprehensive and right up-to-date but is also a real pleasure to read and learn from.’

Peter S. Talbot - M.D., FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist & Honorary Senior Lecturer, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and University of Manchester

‘The truth is that this book has a secret: it is obviously a book on pharmacology, but it hides a second one, a book on neuroscience-based psychopathology. Going back from the receptors to the psychopathological dimensions of the disorders Stahl has his own personal style, starting with his use of the ‘incipit’: here he makes it clear what he is going to explain to you, and where you have to focus your attention. Concentrate! Then Steve Stahl gives you picture of the determined domain: this time animated in sequences to make you figure concretely the matter of psychopharmacology. At the end, just to make sure that you really grasped the concepts, he repeats everything in a convenient summary, which is very useful to consolidate the knowledge.’

Stefano Pallanti - M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Director of the Institute for Neurosciences, Florence, Italy

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  • 1 - Chemical Neurotransmission
    pp 1-28


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