Pyschopathology 4 (pg 153- 157

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  • Created on: 26-08-20 14:03
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  • Psychopathology 4 (pg153-157)
    • The Biological Approach to EXPLAINING OCD
      • Genetic Explanations
        • Some mental health issues seem to have stronger biological components, and OCD is a good example of a condition understood to be largely biological and hereditary in nature as genes are involved in individual vulnerability to OCD
        • Lewis (1976)
          • 37% of his patients had parents with OCD and 21% had siblings with OCD
            • There is a VULNERABILITY to OCD, rather than a genetic-definite
              • Some environmental stress is needed to trigger mental health
        • Candidate Genes
          • These are the specifically-identified genes needed for OCD
            • Some of these genes are involved in regulating the development of the Serotonin system
        • OCD is polygenic
          • This means it is not caused by one single gene, but a combination of genetic variations that together increase vulnerability
        • Different types of OCD
          • One group of genes may cause OCD for one person but another set of different genes may cause it for another
            • This is called aetiologically heterogeneous, meaning the origins of OCD vary from one person to another
      • Neural Explanations
        • The genes associated with OCD are likely to affect the levels of key neurotransmitters as well as structures of the brain
        • The Role of Serotonin
          • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, believed to help regulate mood
            • If someone has low levels of serotonin, normal transmission of mood-relevant information doesn't take place and the person may experience low moods
        • Decision-making Systems
          • In some cases of OCD, mainly hoarding disorder, they seem to be associated with decision-making systems
            • This could be associated with abnormal functioning of the lateral of the frontal lobes of the brain, the lobes being responsible for logical thinking and making decisions
              • There is also evidence that an area called the Parahippocampal gyrus, associated with processing unpleasant emotions, functions abnormally with OCD.
    • The Biological Approach to TREATING OCD = Drug Therapy
      • Aims to increase or decrease levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, or to increase/ decrease their activity
      • SSRIs
        • A type of antidepressant called Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
          • Preventing breakdown and reabsorption of Serotonin by the presynaptic neuron
            • This means the postsynaptic neurons continue to be stimulated by these drugs
              • Serotonin levels are increased.
        • Dosage and other advice vary
          • A typical daily dose of Fluoxetine (aka Prozac) is 20mg, although this may be increased, and is available as liquid capsules. 3-4 months of daily use is needed to impact your symptoms
      • Combining SSRIs with other treatments
        • Drugs are often used alongside CBT as the drugs reducing of a person's emotional symptoms means CBT can be used more effectively as the person is more realistic and reasonable and more available to engage with the therapy
          • Some respond better to the use of drugs and therapy together
      • Alternatives to SSRIs
        • If after 3-4 months the SSRIs are not helping, the dosage can be upped to 60mg, for example, or combined with other drugs
          • Tricyclics: an older drug acting on various systems where it has the same effect as SSRIs. However Clomipramine has more sever side-effects so is usually reserved for those who don't respond to SSRIs,
          • SNRIs: Serotonin-nonadrenaline reuptake inhibitors are more recent and are a different class of drugs and are a 2nd line of defense for those who don't respond to SSRIs


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