The first anti-psychotic drug
How the 1950s drug Chlorpomazine helped revolutionise the treatment of mental illness
In the first half of the 20th century, most mentally ill patients were locked away in psychiatric hospitals and asylums. Those suffering from severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, were often sedated or restrained. Shock therapies were standard treatments. Then in France in the 1950s, a new drug was discovered which dramatically reduced psychotic symptoms in many patients. It was called Chlorpromazine. Soon it was being used around the world. Alex Last has been speaking to the psychiatrist Dr Thomas Ban, emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, who witnessed the introduction of Chlorpromazine first-hand in the 1950s.
Photo:Nurses prepare a patient for electric shock treatment in a psychiatric hospital. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Getty Images)