CME information

Release/expiration dates

Originally released: February 1, 2013

Reviewed and re-released: February 1, 2016

CME credit expires: January 31, 2019

Target audience

This activity has been developed for prescribers specializing in psychiatry. All other health care providers interested in psychopharmacology are welcome for advanced study, especially primary care physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and pharmacists.

Statement of need

Psychiatric illnesses have a neurobiological basis and are primarily treated by pharmacological agents; understanding each of these, as well as the relationship between them, is essential in order to select appropriate treatment for a patient. The field of psychopharmacology has experienced incredible growth; it has also experienced a major paradigm shift from a limited focus on neurotransmitters and receptors to an emphasis as well upon brain circuits, neuroimaging, genetics, and signal transduction cascades.

The following unmet needs and professional practice gaps regarding mental health were revealed following a critical analysis of activity feedback, expert faculty assessment, literature review, and through new medical knowledge:

  • Mental disorders are highly prevalent and carry substantial burden that can be alleviated through treatment; unfortunately, many patients with mental disorders do not receive treatment or receive suboptimal treatment.

  • There is a documented gap between evidence-based practice guidelines and actual care in clinical practice for patients with mental illnesses. This gap is due at least in part to lack of clinician confidence and knowledge in terms of appropriate usage of the therapeutic tools available to them.

To help address clinician performance gaps with respect to diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, quality improvement efforts need to provide education regarding (1) the fundamentals of neurobiology as it relates to the most recent research regarding the neurobiology of mental illnesses; (2) the mechanisms of action of treatment options for mental illnesses and the relationship to the pathophysiology of the disease states; and (3) new therapeutic tools and research that are likely to affect clinical practice.

Learning objectives

After completing this activity, you should be better able to:

  • Apply fundamental principles of neurobiology to the assessment of psychiatric disease states

  • Differentiate the neurobiological targets for psychotropic medications

  • Link the relationship of psychotropic drug mechanism of action to the pathophysiology of disease states

  • Identify novel research and treatment approaches that are expected to affect clinical practice

Accreditation and credit designation statements

The Neuroscience Education Institute is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Neuroscience Education Institute designates this enduring material for a maximum of 67.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


for all of your CNE requirements for recertification, the ANCC will accept AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. The content of thi