There are three main treatments offered by the biologists which are: drugs, electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and psycho surgery.

Drugs


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┬ámimicking 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.

Psycho Surgery


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.