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Biological Therapies for Schizophrenia
Two types of drugs, first generation (typical) and second generation (atypical)
First generation (typical): Arrest dopamine production by inhibiting
receptors. Reduce positive symptoms. Eg. Chlorpromazine
Second generation (atypical): Reduce serotonin as well as dopamine. Reduce
both the positive and negative symptoms.
Liberman et al (2005) found that 74% of patients on 1st and 2nd generation
antipsychotics stopped taking their medication within 18 months due to side
Davis et al (1989) found that 70% of those treated with antipsychotics
improved within 6 weeks compared to 25% of those treated with placebos.
Suggests that they are effective, but also that placebos are effective on some
patients. Also shows that on 30% of patients it is ineffective.
It's only effective if patients consistently take the drugs, but side effects
sometimes put them off so it may not always be the most appropriate
Reductionist - only addresses biological factors
Trower et al (2000) found that they were most effective when used alongside
Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)
Patient is given a nerve blocking agent to prevent full body convulsions. Given
a 1-3 second low voltage shock to the frontal lobes.
Unknown how it works, but it has been shown that it's effective in treating
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Tharyan and Adams (2005) did a Meta Analysis of 26 ECT studies. 50% of
patients who improved after ECT relapsed within 6 months - not effective in
the long term.
Fish (1997) found that 20-30 sessions are needed for it to be effective, it's
usually 15 for other disorders. Also found it was 60-80% effective against
specific categories, so may only be appropriate for certain patients.…read more