Biological methods of stress management

AS Complete Companion, Third Edition Student Book by  Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan Pages 150-151

  • Created by: ClaryFray
  • Created on: 24-02-15 18:10

Drug Therapies

Benzodiazepines (BZs) enhance the action of GABA, a neurotransmitter that naturally reduces anxiety levels, by binding to special sites on the GABA receptor and boosting the actions of GABA. This makes the neruon even more resistant to excitation. Brain's output of excitatory neurotransmitters is reduced and the person feels calmer.

Beta-Blockers (BBs) reduce the activity of adrenaline and noreadrenaline which are part of the sympathomedullary response to stress. BBs bind to beta-receptors on the cells of parts of the body that are usually stimulated during arousal. They BLOCK these receptors and cause the reverse effect of stress hormones so person feels calmer and less anxious.

Extra Tips:

How to remember to spell Benzodiazepines...Ben Zodiac Ze Pines


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Evaluation (Strengths)


P One research study that supports the effectiveness of drug therapy is Kahn et al

E Followed 250 patients, over 8 weeks, compare outcomes of drug group vs. placebo group, BZs significantly superior to a placebo.

C Shows that effectiveness due to pharmological properties not to something psychological

P One research study that supports the effectiveness of drug therapy is Lockwood

E Studied over 200 musicians in major US symphony orchestras, 27% reported taking BBs, felt better about their performance after taking it, music critics judged their performances to be better

C Shows the effectiveness in reducing anxiety, also not just psychological-critics found it better

Also you just have to remember to take the pills so requires little effort from the user unlike psychological methods

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Evaluation (Limitations)

Addiction-Participants with low doses of BZs show marked withdrawal symptoms once stopped taking them. Ashton says use of BZs should be limited to a max of 4 weeks

Side effects-BZs include paradoxical symptoms like increased aggressiveness and cognitive side effects. Most people who take BBs don't experience any side effects.

Treating the symptoms rather than the problem-Only effective whilst taking the drugs. Problem may pass but in cases of chronic stress it is only a temporary solution. Treatment may produce further problems of it's own.

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