Clinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously Simple

(42 customer reviews)

A brief, practical review of the indications for and use of pharmacological agents in the treatment of psychological disorders. Successful medical treatment of emotional and mental disorders depends on two factors: 1. A thorough knowledge of psychotropic medications and 2. an accurate diagnosis. Both issues are addressed in this book in a practical and concise format. Case examples. Chapter on over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. 

Up-to-date DSM-5 classification of psychological disorders.


Book Details


Edition 9 (September 15, 2019)







About The Author

John Preston

John Preston, Psy.D is professor emeritus with Alliant International University in Sacramento, CA and formerly with the University of California, Davis School of Medicine and the Professional School of Psychology, San Francisco. He is the author of 21 books covering topics such as: psychopharmacology, neurobiology, psychotherapy, spirituality and emotional healing. His books have been translated into 14 foreign languages. He is the author of the "Drugs in Psychiatry" chapter in the "Encyclopedia Americana". Dr. Preston has presented over 500 invited talks during the past 25 years, speaking in the USA, Canada, Europe, Africa and Russia.

His strength is presenting complex information in an easy to understand way.

He is recipient of the "President's Award" from the Mental Health Association and "Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Award" from the California Psychological Association.

"On a personal note, like other fellow human beings I have encountered significant emotional tragedies in my life, and hope that my books can make a difference in the lives of professionals as well as those who also suffer the difficulties of navigating through difficult times and emotional illnesses."


Chapter 1. General Principles
Chapter 2. Depression
Chapter 3. Bipolar Illness
Chapter 4. Anxiety Disorders
Chapter 5. Psychotic Disorders
Chapter 6. Miscellaneous Disorders
Chapter 7. Over-the Counter Medications and Dietary Supplements
Chapter 8. Non-Response and “Breakthrough Symptoms” Algorithms
Chapter 9. Case Examples
Appendix A. History and Personal Data Questionnaire
Appendix B. Special Cautions When Taking MAO Inhibitors
Appendix C. Caffeine Consumption Questionnaire
Appendix D. On-Line Practice Guidelines and Updates

42 reviews for Clinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously Simple

  1. Antillus – Absolutely indispensable for anyone involved with prescribing psych meds!

    I’m doing a psychiatry elective rotation towards getting my MD right now.
    Like most psychiatry offices today, the focus is a lot on prescribing the right meds.
    I brought this book into work the day after I received it in the mail and showed it to the PA’s, MDs’, nurse practitioners, psychologists etc, and they were all in love with it instantly (as was I).

    No other guide sums up the important need-to-knows and essential bullet points for meds like this book. Not only that, but at a price that even a starving student can afford.
    Also it is cutting edge and extremely up to date with the newest information (we saw one particular antidepressant in the book that we didn’t recognize and the next day a pharm rep came buy to to announce the exact same new drug was becoming available!).

    Needless to say, all the clinicians in my practice went ahead and bought copies of the book for themselves and it has definitely changed some of the staff’s prescribing habits.

    Very highly recommend!!

  2. M. Drake – Great resource!

    The best book I’ve read on the subject! Concise, clear and informative. As a therapist this is a great resource – it’s even something I can share with clients for a better understanding of medication treatment.
    The book is organized per disorder or disorder category and decision trees are in each chapter. There is also a list of biological and medical factors as well as medications that could cause certain disorders. I just love the layout and ease of this book. Must read for practitioners and prescribers!!

  3. CCDC – pharmacophobic II

    found this book interesting and informative, which is new for me, being a pharmacophobic…since I must study this subject right now, this book was very helpful in understanding not only which psychotropics for which psychopathology, but also mechanisms that are helpful to understand when treating, and understanding why pharma might interfere with psychotherapeutic interventions, and also when it might be a necessity, in terms of the patient being able to interact with you at all. Have to say I’m actually keeping this book for my library after my course is finished…I only do that with the ‘good ones’.

  4. jennacat1 – Trememdous Little Book of Medication Knowledge

    This takes an absurdly complicated subject and makes it so even a person with a street-level understanding of interacting biological mechanisms can understand most of the information in one read, two at the most. There are tons of tidbits of knowledge in here, from the expected interaction tables to the never known before fact that some meds deplete biotin (which helps retain hair growth) and one really should supplement while on it. Even my psychiatrist has been impressed with the level of knowledge this handy little book provides. I highly recommend that if you or anyone you care about takes psychoactive medications this should be in your library.

  5. ride – Very good basic guide

    A very good guide for the PCP who might feel intimidated by caring for the psychiatric patient. Rather than official treatment protocols, the authors offer evidence-based guidelines and include many insiders’ tips on making an accurate diagnosis, choosing the right initial psychotropic medication, dosing effectively and safely, and managing common side effects. Stronger on depression and anxiety than bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders, as it should be for most PCPs.

  6. Walter J. Hanss – Don’t mistake the title

    As a counseling clinician for 28 years, I speak from experience when it comes to written psychopharmacological aids. This book is the best. You might think you want to discount the book because of the “rediculously simple” part of the title. Don’t! You will find this book to be comprehensive, yet easy to use.

  7. E. R. Cooley – Clinical Psychopharmacology a “must-have”

    When my son was diagnosed at age 15 with early-onset schizophrenia, I was anxious to understand the kind of medication he may have to take–probably for the rest of his life. I found this book and others at the library. This was the most concise, practical and user-friendly reference I have had the privilage of reading. It has a great index.

  8. Joey L. – Great for psych rotations!

    I’m in PA school wanting to go into psychiatry. I have used the other “Made Ridiculously Simple” books before so I figured I’d give this one a try. This was VERY helpful (much more so than the “Behavioral Medicine Made Ridiculously Simple”) book. It explained the psychiatric disorders and provided explanations of treatments. There was a lot of nice charts for the medications. Everything was straightforward and simple to follow. This is a great resource for any health professional student!

  9. Zeina – Great and simple

    This book breaks down all the common meds used within the psychological field to treat various disorders in a simplified manner. I definitely recommend to anyone going into the field as a psychologist, therapist, behavior analyst, or psychotherapist because it is extremely important to understand the various effects medication can have on the body and a person’s behavior as well as understanding how various medications can interact with one another.

  10. Ashleigh – I have recommended it to all of my friends

    This book really simplifies psychopharmacology. I am in clinicals right now for my Psychiatric NP program and this has been a lifesaver. I have recommended it to all of my friends!

  11. I love Tacos – Incredibly useful! Absolutely Excellent!

    Dr. Preston is second to none when it comes to providing a clear understanding over an incredibly complex topic. He has a true gift in being able to convey a wealth of information in an extremely short period of time. I have found this text to be a very useful quick reference in both my daily practice as well as when supervising. I recommend it to all my supervisees as I know of no other resource that can cover psychopharmacology with such brevity without intimidating the reader nor missing out on essential details. Highly recommended to any therapist at any level.

  12. G’mat Pat – psychotropics demystified

    Excellent . Provides good overview/review of psychotropics. Information easily incorporated in daily practice. Would be great quick reference in any med room.

  13. Rev4u – A great reference book for consumers !!

    Preston’s book is concise, clear, and efficient. It will provide the reader with a simple and sufficient overview of psychotropic medications and the basic concepts in psychopharmacology. This book can also be very handy for the busy clinician.

  14. Joseph P. Metoyer Jr. – Informative and unintimidating

    This book was used for a text book in my MFT program at CSUDH this summer 2008. Easy read and excellent to keep on the shelf as a reference. Good for basic understanding of meds and reactions to meds. Written for a lay-person to understand and grasp the fundamentals of drug use in the mental health field.

  15. Joseph Erickson – It is not meant to be a thorough psycho-pharmacological reference book (as in the PDR) but it does a good job if you want to ref

    The main reason I wanted this small book was so that I could a) present a small novel to clients who might be interested in reading something about medication, and b) so when I am in a hurry, I can quickly reference something that can explain medication in layman’s terms. It is not meant to be a thorough psycho-pharmacological reference book (as in the PDR) but it does a good job if you want to reference a quick, easy to understand medication book.

  16. lmh – Brief and to the point; a well-rounded overview.

    I really appreciated this pharm overview. As a nurse, it offered me insight regarding medications used for my psych clients. I am now better able to answer questions asked by both clients and their family members. I particularly found the “Decision Tree” tables functional and informative.

  17. Bruc56 – Useful

    This little book contains more common sense that tomes three inches thick. Practical diagnostic and prescription advice. Good for prescribers and those non prescribers (me) who need to know enough to help monitor medication compliance and effectiveness.

  18. Daniel Garza, Jr. – Great adjunct information for staff.

    My staff must be up to date with new information without having to take a semester of education on mental health and medications. This book is a great adjunct to helping the process of identifying issues related to patients and psychopharmacology.

  19. Surfer Girl – an essential reference

    Clear concise and easy to reference, John Preston’s expertisement is invaluable. I keep a copy in my office so I can access information about a patients medication and better understand their reactions to it.

  20. Minoa Chang – An easy to read/understand

    An easy to read/understand, and straight to the point description of medications used in the treatment of individuals with mental illness; a brief text with the essentials of practical psychopharmacology. Perfect for non-prescribing health and mental health students or professionals, I use it as an adjunct text for teaching graduate mental health students. The authors keep new editions coming, with any updates worth announcing.

  21. Shane Ball – Helpful and informative. I used this for my Psy …

    Helpful and informative. I used this for my Psy.D. classes and I got an A in the class. I use it in other courses as a reference guide.

  22. nemesioucr – Amazing concise book for PMHNP students!

    This book is amazing!! I am an RN going to school to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. This book is concise & is a great tool. I love the charts they include. If you are wanting a lot of depth you will need to get additional resources- but this is an exceptional overview. I have already recommended this to several of my PMHNP peers. Great find!

  23. G. Easley – Great addition to your learning tools!!

    This book is a must for anyone enrolled in Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology or a Pharmacy type course. It goes along well the book, “The Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists”. It helped provide a clearer understanding of concepts, etc. I highly recommend!!

  24. Rebecca B. – and I really enjoyed reading it

    I got this book for CE credits, and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s short and easy to read in one sitting. The authors make it very easy to understand psychopharmacology and it’s clinical uses. I always enjoy clinical case examples and this book provided several that gives more practical comprehension.

  25. Robert Everett – A great book

    It takes each disorder and lets you know what medication to use,and potential side effects to each of the medication.

  26. Ian Aiuto – It is a great desk reference!

    This is a great book for all therapist to have. It does a great job at going over the medications and also I love the clinical diagnosis trees that are in this book.

  27. J. Johnson – Excellent resource for quick review

    This is a great book for all therapist to have. It does a great job at going over the medications and also I love the clinical diagnosis trees that are in this book.

  28. Morgan Perry – A thorough quick reference for non-medical clinicians

    A wonderful book for any therapist to have at the ready. Easy to understand but not necessarily dumbed-down.

  29. Julie Grupy – This came rather quickly in the mail. :)

    I needed this for a class in my social work field and it was definitely relevant for my studies. A lot of great information in this book and current on all topics.

  30. Myron Waye – Very helpful with reviewing for test in PMHNP school.

    Very helpful with reviewing for test in PMHNP school. Shortens large concepts to make sure as you review that you understand it

  31. RG – Great book

    Love this book. love the series. you will not regret buying any of the ridiculously simple series

  32. Tony – Love

    I use it every day. I am a Substance Abuse Counselor and this book makes a freakin genius! Love it

  33. James S Dalgleish – Perfectly concise

    This book is easy to read and very informative. They packed a lot of information into this shirt read. It is a great starting place and if already well educated in clinical psychopharmacology, a great desk reference.

  34. Suzanna Cox – Great quick reference!

    Used this book while studying for my certification exam and was very helpful. Will use in practice as well. I love the decision trees. Highly recommend!

  35. Paul I. – Great Quick Reference

    Short. Concise. Packed with useful and needed information about basic psychopharm. treatments. There are many thick psychopharmacology books out there given the complexity of the field, but sometimes less is more. Good for an introduction to medication or as a quick field reference.

  36. Maryland Gentleman – Great book

    He takes complicated pharmocology topics and makes them simple and understandable, nice job!! He uses charts and whatever is necessary to simplify things.

  37. hotairballoon – Five Stars

    Organized well and contained what I need to know as a therapist.

  38. Amanda Ly – short and sweet

    quick and dirty explanations. great for someone who already has a background or those looking for a big picture overview.

  39. Marsha Baumann – Five Stars

    Great reference material with good explanations about mental disorders requiring medication.

  40. Sheila R. Hoban – A great reference book for the clinician

    Very well written. A great reference book for the clinician.

  41. A. Bear – Psychopharm in a nutshell

    I purchased this book to review for the ANCC PMHCNS exam and it was extremely helpful. Very up to date with diagnosis and treatment recommendations. It’s short and a quick read, but packed with vital information! Highly recommended!

  42. NG, RN – Ridiculously SImple!

    I am a RN and just started a PMHNP program. I wanted to get a head start on psychopharmacology. So far the book has been an easy read and is not boggled down with irrelevant details. I like that it provides case examples and required labs for certain medications. Overall this will not replace your psychopharmacology book but is a great portable guide to have with you at all times!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published.