Biological Therapies for Schizophrenia

Biological Therapies for Schizophrenia

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Drug Therapy

Antipsychotic Drugs:

They are Antagonists which which bind the dopamine receptors, mainly the D2 ones and do not stimulate them therefore they block the action. This discovery led to the formation of the dopamine hypothesis

An example of an typical Antipsychotic drug is Chlorpromazine

Atypical Anti-Psychotic drugs:

These sort of drugs also act on the dopamine system but also have an effect on serotonin by blocking the serotonin receptors in the brain. Clozapine is an Atypical anti-psychotic drug. These sort of drugs have been known to not harbour the same level of side effects such as tardive dyskensia.

Drug therapies have been shown to mainly help with the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, however Atypical drugs have had the possiblity of helping with some of the negative symptoms.

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Drug therapies only act upon the symptoms not the underlying cause as there is a high chance if a patient stops taking the medication hat they will relapse.

Antipsychotic drugs can have some severe side effects such as:

  • Trembling and shaking with symptoms similar to Parkinsons Disease
  • Tardive Dyskinesia, uncontrollable smacking lips
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blurred Vision
  • Constipation

It is feared that sometimes the side effects can be worse than the disorder itself.


75% of Patients have short term bennificial effects from the drugs (Davis et al)

and 55-60% of Patients have longer term beneficial effects from the drugs.

But this still leaves a substantial amount of people susceptible without treatment

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Earlier Therapies

ECT Electro Convulsive Therapy:

An electric current is passed between the scalp electrodes to cause a seizure, the seizure lasts aproximatly one minute, it may take between 10-15 treatments to be completed.

Its not fully understood how it helps.

It is used as a last resort and the patient has the right to decline it.

It can have some possible side effects such as:

Brain damage

Memory Loss

Possibly even death.

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