AO1 DRUGS - Anti-Anxiety/Anti-Depressants
- BZs slow down the activity of the central nervous system by enhancing the activity of GABA.
- GABA is a neurotransmitter, that, when released, has a general quietening effect on many of the neurons in the brain.
- BBs (Beta-Blockers) reduce the activity of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are part of the sympathomedullary response to stress.
- They bind to receptors on cells of the heart and other parts of the body to reduce the effect of these hormones.
- SSRIs are currently the preferred drug for treating anxiety disorders.
- Increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
AO2 DRUGS - Part 1
+ve: It is proved they work.
+ve: Readily available on the NHS.
-ve: Building up a tolerance so you need more.
-ve: Side effects. People have become suicidal.
-ve: Not treating the underlying cause; just the symptoms.
-ve: Dependence; the patients don't try to help themselves.
-ve: Addiction (linked to tolerance).
AO2 DRUGS - Part 2
Research Support/Criticism for Anti-Anxiety Drugs
- Kahn found that BZs were more effective than a placebo at treating anxiety.
- Hidalgo found that BZs were more effective than anti-depressants.
- Liebowitz found BBs were more effective in treating anxiety however other research has shown that placebos are just as effective in reducing physiological effects of anxiety.
Research Support for Anti-Depressants
- Katzelnick found that SSRIs are more powerful than a placebo at reducing anxiety.
It is believed that part of the brain is malfunctioning. If a connection to this part of the brain is severed, then psychological symptoms may be relieved.
Capsulotomy and Cingulotomy
- Removal of connection to the capsule or cingulum.
- These parts of the brain are associated with emotion - they are part of the limbic system.
- Operations are irreversible; only performed as a last resort.
Deep Brain Simulation
- Involves placing wires in target areas in the brain.
- Wires are connected to a battery in the patient's chest.
- When current is on, this interrupts the target circuits in the brain.
Ruck studied 26 patients who had undertaken capsulotomy, due to persistent anxiety.
- The patients had suffered for over five years prior to surgery, experiencing a significant decrease in psychosocial functioning.
- Other treatments had been exhausted.
- The mean pre-operative anxiety score was 22.
- The mean post-operative anxiety score was 4.6.
- Suggests treatment was successful.
However, 7 of the patients had attempted suicide following surgery, 2 having suffered from epileptic fits.
-ve Szasz criticises psychosurgery because he claims the psyche is not something physical that can be operated on.