AS Psychology: Individual Differences
Biological therapies for abnormality.
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…