AS Psychology: Individual Differences

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AS Psychology: Individual Differences


Biological therapies for abnormality. 

ECT(electro-convlusive therapy)

ECT is a form of brain stimulation via electrodes placed on the head. These electrodes administer a brief controlled series of electrical pulses. The patient is placed under a general anaesthesia and given muscle relaxer so they don't feel pain or convulse and incur fractions. The patient regains consciousness after 5-10 minutes. 

Two types of ECT

Unilateral ECT- only non-dominant hemisphere is stimulated 

Bilateral ECT- both hemispheres of the brain are stimulated

Introduces changes in neurotransmitter levels, including increased sensitivity to seratonin in hypothalamus and increase in the release of GABA. 

Thoryan and Adams(2005)- received ECT as a treatment for schizophrenia, concluding it was an effective treatment in the short term, but not as effective as anti-psychotic drugs. 

Tang et al(2002)- found ECT effective in treating schizophrenics who do not respond positively to drug treatments suggesting ECT provides relief to such patients. 

  • Has an immediate positive effect: drug treatments take time before improvements are noticed, by which time the occurance of side effects means patients have discontinued the treatment. 
  • No evidence for brain damage: no evidence ECT causes brain damage in patients. Coffery(1991) used MRI scans finding no indication of brain damage after ECT. 
  • Effective: proven to be an effective treatment for schizophrenics where other treatments have failed. 
  • Argued it should not be used as we don't fully understand how it works.
  • UKAN(1995) reports 78.5 per cent of people surveyed would


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