Treating Abnormality

Notes on how abnormality is treated, with strengths and limitations included

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  • Created on: 18-05-09 11:55
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Treating abnormality
Biological therapies
ECT is used for severe depression, when the patient has proved resistant to other forms of
psychological and biological therapies, with 12-15 sessions over a few weeks
Involves passing a small current through the brain to cause epileptic-like electrical discharges
Introduced in 1930's as treatment for schizophrenia
Not clear why it works, may alter the action of neurotransmitters in the brain
o Can prevent suicide
o Effective in 50% of patients who use it as a last resort
o Side effects
o Long term memory impairment
o Ethical issues
Drugs are used for schizophrenia and depression by reducing dopamine activity in the brain
For schizophrenia: Chlorpromazine - first antipsychotic drug used in 1952, reducing symptoms
such as hallucinations , delusions and thought disorder. Clozapine - has fewer side effects than
other drugs
o 50-60% effective in suppressing symptoms of schizophrenia
o Few schizophrenia patients are danger to self/others - should drugs be prescribed anyway?
o Knowledge of schizophrenia increased
o Drugs for life - if patients come off, symptoms return in 80% of cases
o Side effects - movement disorders, white blood cells
o Ethical issues - informed consent
For depression: Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) - antidepressant drugs, raise levels of
serotonin and noradrenalin in the brain. Tricyclic antidepressants - antidepressant drugs,
raising brain levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenalin. Serotonin reuptake
inhibitors (SSRIs) - newer antidepressant drugs such as Prozac increase brain serotonin levels.
o 60-70% effective, but 30% effective when patients use a placebo..?
o Don't cure depression
o Dependence on drugs
o Side effects
o Ethical issues - informed consent
o Increasing knowledge of action of antidepressants on neurotransmitters - contributed to
development of biological model of depression
Anti-anxiety drugs - most prescribed are Librium and Valium from a group called
benzodiazepines (BZs) used for general anxiety, stress and sleep disorders
o Psychological and physical dependence
o Side effects - drowsiness and memory impairment
Lithium - used for bipolar depression
o Stabilises condition
o Severe side effects - heart and digestion problems
Psychological therapies
Psychoanalysis seeks to recover repressed memories or unresolved conflicts using free
association, dream analysis and projective tests.
Free association - technique used to encourage client to express anything that comes into
their mind and follow any associations that occur to them.

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Dream analysis - technique used when therapist uses the dream work to interpret the
manifest content of the dream and uncover the latent content. Processes such as
displacement and symbolisation distort the latent content into the manifest content.
Projective tests - client is required to project or impose their own thoughts and associations
on some particular stimulus material e.g.…read more


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