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Biological therapies for OCD

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Discuss two or more biological therapies for OCD There are two main forms of biological therapies for OCD; these are Chemotherapy and Psychosurgery. The biological explanation for OCD offers a relatively easy option for treatment, Chemotherapy (drugs). This therapy aims to rebalance chemicals that are assumed to be out of balance within OCD sufferers. There are three main drugs; Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, Tricyclics and Anti -Anxiety Drugs. SSRI's such as Prozac increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin available that regulates mood and anxiety; they also help reduce over or hyper activity in the 'worry circuit'. If OCD is a cause of too little serotonin, by increasing its availability, the symptoms of OCD should improve. The effectiveness of this drug has been supported by research carried out by Soompro et al; they looked at 17 studies and found that, by using two control groups, SSRI's were more effective than placebos'. ...read more.


The main limitation of Tricyclics is the many, bad side effects that come with them, these are considered worse than the side effects of taking SSRI's, making them a second line treatment if SSRI's fail to relieve symptoms. Thoren et al found that Clomipramine was significantly more effective than placebos in relieving obsessional symptoms; this is good because it shows that the drug is effective and also addresses the problem of both obsessional thoughts and compulsions. By the removal of the obsessional thoughts, the compulsions are not required as the anxiety from the thoughts has been removed. However, Foa et al found that Clomipramine is not as effective as ERP (a behavioural approach treatment), suggesting that there may be an underlying psychological problem that a biological treatment such as Tricyclics can not treat. ...read more.


However, we can apply researcher bias in this case; the researchers are more likely to find the results that meet their hypothesis. Another criticism of these research experiments is that they are carried out with relatively small samples, 44 and 17 respectively. There are a number of side effects that derive from this treatment, for example a personality change, and this is, almost in every case, an unwanted side effect. A main problem with this therapy is that it is irreversible, meaning that the changes made can not be changed back. It could also be said that this therapy is unethical as it is potentially harmful to patients. TMS is another technique that has recently been used in treating OCD patients. A large electromagnetic coil is place above the scalp near the forehead and passes an electric current that stimulates the frontal cortex (part of the 'worry circuit') and this lessens feelings of anxiety. ...read more.

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