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Biological therapies- antipsychotic drugs
These bind to D2 receptors for a long time. These are called phenothiazines but
are more commonly known as chlorpromazine. They help to treat positive symptoms
such as hallucinations, delusions, grossly disorganised behaviour and disorganised
Atypical antipsychotics- describe
Drugs such as Clozapine are newer atypical antipsychotics and they seem to have
fewer side effects because:
They block other neurotransmitters such as serotonin as well as dopamine
They only affect D2 receptors but they only block them for a short time.
Effectiveness of conventional antipsychotics: Davis did a meta analysis of
3519 people and found that relapses occurred in 55% of those who were
given a placebo drug compared to a relapse rate of 19% for those who
stayed on the real medication. Thos showed that conventional drugs are
effective at treating schizophrenia as less people relapsed on the real
drugs than the placebos.
Evidence against Davis' study: Ross and Read claimed that Davis' study was
unfair as the relapse rates in the placebo condition could be due to the
withdrawal of the real medication. All of the patients were originally on
medication and the body may have become biologically adapted to the drug
such as increased amount of D2 receptors which occur when the patient is
deprived of the drug. Therefore it is argued that the increase in D2
receptors is the real cause of the relapse and not the lack of the drug.
Conventional antipsychotics have side effects: can cause Tardive
Dyskineasia in as many as 30% of patients.
Atypical antipsychotics are slightly more effective than conventionals:
Leucht conducted a meta analysis comparing the effectiveness of
conventional and atypical antipsychotics. The researchers found that 2 of
the newer atypical were slightly more effective while the 2 other atypical
were deemed to be no different in terms of effectiveness. Therefore some
atypical may be more effective however there is only a small degree of
improvement in effectiveness.
Atypical can treat negative and positive symptoms: Leucht also looked at
the typical effectiveness at treating the negative symptoms. Here they
found 2 were slightly more effective than conventional antipsychotics, 1 was
just as effective and 1 was slightly less effective.
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Effectiveness can be influenced by psychological factors: one study found
that antipsychotics only have positive effects if the family of the patient
were hostile and critical.
Clozapine has fewer side effects: Jeste looked at the potential to develop
tardive dyskineasia for the 2 types of antipsychotics. After 9 months 30%
of the conventional patients had developed the disorder whereas with
Clozapine and one other antipsychotic only 5% had developed the disorder.…read more