Issues and debates - social control - drug therapy

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  • Social Control - Drug Therapy
    • Where is it Used?
      • Used in health psychology to control drug addiction
      • Used in clinical psychology to control mental disorders so those who are seen as 'abnormal' are made 'normal'
    • Why is it used?
      • Health - allows addict to function normally
      • Sedative - calms irrational, agitated or impulsive behaviour = extreme control
    • How does it work?
      • Health - involves prescribing drug/biological substitute for the drug which works in the same way
      • Methadone  is synthetic opiate for heroin - blocks heroins effect at synapse & reduces withdrawal for 24h so individual is not  -ve reinforced to continue with heroin
      • Clinical - prescribing drugs that affect neurotransmitter functioning which reduces symptoms of a disorder
      • Chloropromazine - blocks dopamine receptors to reduce the excess dopamine levels to alleviate     of symptoms such as    hallucinations and delusions
    • Ethical Issues
      • Clinicians make decisions on the drugs an individual should take to treat the disorder this is unethical because they have power to enforce their decision  i.e. by threat of sectioning which give them coercive   power
      • Drug Treatments are developed via animal experiments and it can be argued that animals are too similar to humans to be treated as objects and not participants most species used have the physiological capacity to feel pain and neglect but are not treated as concious beings like humans
      • Therapists are required to follow ethical rules such as confidentiality and consent
      • Drugs often mask symptoms rather than cure the causes so are used to control patients as its seen as easier - drugs act as a chemical cosh with no attempt to address the underlying problems
    • Practical issues
      • Problem is checking if individual has taken the prescribed drugs - e.g. schizophrenics given anti-psychotics tend to stop taking the drugs once they feel better resulting in relapse thus re-hospitalisation
      • Usually only effective combined with other treatments e.g in drug addiction lifestyle as well as addiction must be addressed via counselling or behavioural therapies - problems with the individual giving up the time for these treatments
    • Influence of Practitioner
      • Individual has choice to attend sessions but practitioner has expert power as they are able to choose the drug treatment - if individual has been sectioned etc practitioner has legitimate power handed down from society and may even have coercive power if individual has to under go therapy against    their will
      • Individual has ultimate power as addict may choose to return to usual environment and go back to drug after treatment


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