There are three main treatments offered by the biologists which are: drugs, electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and psycho surgery.
There are three main types of drugs: anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic.
- Anti-anxiety- used to treat stress and work by depressing the central nervous system and relaxing muscles.
- Anti-depressant- used to treat depression and improve mood by increasing seratonin levels by blocking the enzyme that breaks down seratonin.
- Anti-psychotic- used to treat schizophrenia. They sedate and alleviate the symptoms of hallucinations, they do this by blocking dopamine.
- Strength- cheap, fast and effective.
- Strength- schizophrenia was untreatable before drugs, however they are not a cure they just help reduce hallucinations.
- Weakness- they treat the symptoms, not the cause. Therefore they do not deal with underlying issues.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
The idea of ECT is to “jump start” the brain by mimicking an epileptic fit.
- ECT consists of the patient being given an anaesthetic and muscle relaxant then lying down on a bed wearing loose clothing.
- An electrode is then attached to the right hemisphere of the brain and a shock of 70-130 volts is passed through the electrode. This causes a convulsion mimicing an epileptic fit which lasts for around 1 minute.
- The patient will not remember the experience so will recall nothing.
- Weakness- if it works, we don’t know why.
- Weakness- 60-70% of patients report an initial improvement, however within a year 60% of these patients reported feeling depressed again. Therefore it only works in the short term.
In other words this is brain surgery.
- This is based on the theory that something has damaged the brain and therefore this damage must be removed.
- In the early days doctors would drill through the skull and remove part of the brain; this was known as a lobotomy and was extremely barbaric.
- Now, a hole is drilled in the skull and a very small electrode is used to burn away the damaged cells, this is much less damaging.
- Weakness- it is only used as a last resort as it may cause a change in personality and the procedure is permanent and irreversible.