Biological therapies for phobias

Drug therapies and psychosurgery

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Drug therapies include Anti-Anxiety drugs, Beta Blockers and Antidepressants.
Aim: To alter abnormal behaviour by intervening directly in bodily processes
(helps with the symptoms). Those who experience psychological problems or
show disturbed behaviour patterns go to their family doctor. The first line of
treatment is medical. Drug therapies are the most common form of treatment
for phobias.
Drugs haven't been considered to be the primary treatment for specific
phobias because they tend to interfere less with every-day life than, for
example, social phobias.
However they are appropriate when panic attacks accompany specific phobias
and also for social phobias, though drugs can't provide a complete treatment
as they simply focus on symptoms.
BZs reduce anxiety and slow down the activity of the CNS by enhancing the Khan et al found that BZs were more effective than a placebo treatment in
activity of GABA, this is a neurotransmitter that when released has a reducing anxiety.
quietening effect on the neurones. It reacts to the GABA receptors, making it
harder for the neurone to be stimulated by other transmitters, so this slows Hildago et al found that BZs were more effective than antidepressants.
down the activity and makes a person feel more relaxed. There are lots of side effects of BZs, for example, aggressiveness and memory
Addiction can be a problem for BZs even when only low doses are given, they
should only be given for a maximum of four weeks
This reduces the activity of adrenaline and nor adrenaline. It binds the Research suggests that BBs can provide an effective means of anxiety control.
receptors on the cell of the heart and other parts of the body that are
stimulated by arousal. By blocking them it makes it harder to stimulate cells in However some studies have shown that the benefits may be largely explained
these parts of the body, so the heart beats slower with less force and blood in terms of placebo effect. For example, Turner et al found no difference
vessels contract easier. This results a fall in blood pressure, this means there is between a BB and placebo group in terms of reduced heart rate, feeling of
less stress on the heart and this makes the person feel more calm and less nervousness etc.

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BBs have few side effects compared to antidepressants.
SRRIs are the preferred drug. It in increases amounts of serotonin which MAOIs have been found to be more effective than placebos and more
regulates mood and anxiety. effective in the reduction of anxiety than BBs.
MAOI is the enzyme responsible for breaking down monoamine transmitters A further study compared the use of SRRIs and placebo treatment. It found
such as serotonin, dopamine and nor adrenaline.…read more


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