We still don’t know how psychiatric drugs work. We still don’t know whether psychiatric drugs work by correcting an underlying brain abnormality or act by modifying normal brain processes.

In this Issue of Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences Joanna Moncrieff analyses a number of arguments in favour of a drug-centred model, that is, the hypothesis that psychiatric drugs produce alterations of normal brain processes that, in some circumstances, may be interpreted as beneficial (clinically useful) or harmful (side-effects). Conceptualising psychiatric drugs as agents that modify behaviour rather than treat disease has a number of implications for doctors, patients and researchers – Moncrieff argues.

In the same Issue of Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences Catherine Harmer, Philip Cowen, and Carmine Pariante discuss the drug-centred model using different lines of arguments, and make suggestions for moving such a challenging debate ahead.

These articles are important. They provide a brilliant demonstration that not only the production of new data is of paramount relevance, but also the production of new thinking.

Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences (EPS) is an international, peer reviewed journal intended to provide updated data and scientific information to epidemiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, statisticians and other research and mental health workers primarily concerned with public health and epidemiological and social psychiatry. The three articles above have recently published in Volume 27 Issue 3 and available for free download until April 30, 2018. View the full table of contents for the latest issue here.

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