Biological therapies for depression - Evaluation :)

Includes the appropriateness and effectiveness of:

  • Chemotherapy
  • ECT
  • Psyhcosurgery

It also has research evidence to back up the evaluative points ^^

Hope this helps :)

Enjoy ^^

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  • Created by: Fyzah :p
  • Created on: 21-03-12 11:03
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Biological therapies ­ Evaluation
Chemotherapy Appropriateness
Anti-depressant drugs allow people with depression to carry on with their `normal' lives, however as
there is little effort needed from the user, this could lead to a lack of personal responsibility. Also,
regular use of these drugs could result in dependency; drugs, such as these, may also have
side-effects which could affect an individual's day-to-day life so it could be questioned whether it is
worth taking the drugs. In addition to this, anti-depressant drugs do not work all the time, so they are
not worth taking in some cases. As anti-depressant drugs only treat the symptoms of depression and
not the cause, it could be argued if it is the most appropriate treatment for depression; however, it
is the most instant form of treatment which allows depressed individuals rapid relief from their
symptoms, unlike other forms of treatment which take time that may not be available in the patients
Chemotherapy Effectiveness
Chemotherapy has been found to be effective in treating and reducing the symptoms of depression;
Gitlin (2002) supported this claim when he found that 65-70% of symptoms of depression were
reduced by taking anti-depressant drugs, compared to only 33% of symptoms when taking
placebos. However, Kirsch et al. (2002) found that placebos were just as effective as
anti-depressant drugs in treating depression.
WHO (2001) found that the relapse rate for anti-depressant drugs was lower than that of placebos,
supporting the claim that chemotherapy is effective in treating depression. Schulberg et al. (1996)
also supported this claim when he found that Tricyclic's (a form of anti-depressant drugs) were more
effective in treating depression than psychotherapy, supporting the claim that depression has a
biological cause and therefore a biological treatment. However, Steiner (1991) found that although
anti-depressant drugs have shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression, they can
have serious side effects; for example, Prozac (a form of SSRI), has been linked to agitation, violence
and suicidal thoughts. Tricyclic's (TCA's) have also been found to have side-effects, the most severe
being cardiac problems.
Martin et al. (2001) found that chemotherapy is not the only form of therapy to change the levels of
biochemical, psychotherapy has been found to change levels of serotonin and noradrenaline in the
brain, showing that other forms of therapy can be just as effective in treating depression as
Research has found that although anti-depressant drugs are effective in treating the symptoms of
depression, they do not treat the cause; in many cases, symptoms reoccur once the drugs are no
longer taken.
Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT) Appropriateness
ECT has been found to be quicker and easier in treating depression compared to chemotherapy and
psychosurgery; however, there are many side-effects which may result and psychologists do not
know how it works, so it could be questioned whether it is worth taking the risk. Abrams (1997)
argued that ECT "is the same as thumping a TV". Also as there are now other forms of treatment for
depression which are less invasive than ECT, Youssef and Youssef (1999) argue that ECT is no longer
seen as the best form of treatment and no longer seen as acceptable. However, ECT may offer a
permanent cure for depression, unlike chemotherapy. However there are certain side-effects which
have been recorded; memory loss (Rose et al., 2003), cardiovascular changes and headaches (Datto,
2000), generalised slowing (Weiner, 1980) and fear and anxiety (Department of Health, 1999). ECT
has also been seen as unethical is some cases as much as 59% of patients do not give consent to
having ECT (Department of Health, 1999).

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Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT) Effectiveness
Comer (2000) found, in regards to ECT that 60-70% of patients improve after treatment supporting
the claim that ECT is effective. However, Sackheim et al. (2001) found that 84% of patients relapsed
within 6 months of treatment.
Gregory et al. (1985) found that `real' ECT was more effective in treating patients with depression
than `sham' ECT (this is where patients are anesthetised but do not receive treatment). However,
Lowinger and Dobie (1969) found evidence contradictory to Gregory et al.…read more


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