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Biological treatments: Essay style Outline and evaluative two or more
therapies used in the treatment of schizophrenia (24 marks)
A01: One biological treatment is the use of antipsychotic medication, either liquid or tablet
form, aiming to help the individual with the psychotic disorder as well as to increase their
feeling of well being. Some people can take a course of antipsychotics and never
experience a schizophrenic episode again others will require this medication for life in
order to avoid the suffering and symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
A01: One traditional 1st generation antipsychotic is chlorpromazine, this works by
blocking dopamine receptor cells, aiming to reduce message overload as it's stopping
some of those cells firing too much. These drugs tend to work better for type 1 diagnosed
schizophrenics and mainly target positive symptoms. Atypical 2nd generation
antipsychotics, such as clozapine, work by blocking dopamine receptor cells (less) as
well as blocking serotonin receptor cells. This drug has been found to work better for type
2 schizophrenics as they work well targeting negative symptoms.
A01: Although much evidence suggests antipsychotic drugs are effective at reducing the
symptoms of schizophrenia, but there are controversies surrounding their use: many
patients relapse and many suffer quite serious side effects, so their effectiveness needs
to be considered against a consideration of their appropriateness.
A01: Schooler et al's research looked into relapse rates and side effects of first and
second generation antipsychotics. 555 patients suffering their first episode of
schizophrenia were randomly allocated in either a first generation antipsychotic group or
a second generation antipsychotic group. A double blind procedure took place and
relapse was measured by changes in score of the positive and negative symptoms scale
(PaNSS) and standards tests measured side effects.
A02: Results showed both groups to have significant improvement with a minimum of
20% reduction in symptoms measured on the PaNSS. Also the second generation group
had lower relapse rates and fewer side effects. This study gives support for the use of
antipsychotics as it demonstrates they are effective in reducing symptoms in
A02: This study had a large sample size of 555 patients, therefore it is representative and
results can be generalised to the wider population. However, all patients were suffering
from their first episode so it may only be that treating this particular level of the disorder
will show effectiveness in antipsychotics, it can't be generalised that all degrees of the
disorder will have the same finding.
A02: In addition there was the use of a double blind procedure: those who gave the
patients the drug were unaware of which drug they were giving. This leads to their being
no research bias present and therefore increasing the validity of the study. For example
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A01: Further research into effectiveness is Davis who studied relapse rates with
traditional antipsychotics. After reviewing 29 studies comparing relapse rates of those on
traditional antipsychotics and placebo groups results showed a significant difference
between the groups whereby those on medication had on average 19% chance of
relapsing and the placebo 55% chance.
A02: This gives support for the effectiveness of antipsychotics as there is reduced
chance of relapsing when taking the medication.…read more
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However, the use of antipsychotics, including first generation, still seems to be the most
effective treatment for schizophrenia available.
A01: Another biological therapy for treating schizophrenia is psychosurgery. This is not a
common treatment today and was widely used in the 1900s before drugs were readily
available. This involves a procedure called frontal lobotomy whereby specific areas of the
brain (frontal lobe) are targeted and damaged in order to bring about a change in