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Discuss issues surrounding the use of Biological (somatic) therapies.

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Introduction

Discuss issues surrounding the use of Biological (somatic) therapies. The three main biological therapies are Chemotherapy, Electro convulsive therapy and Psychosurgery. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to treat mental problems. For example, Anxiolytics or Anti-anxiety drugs are subscribed to calm and reduce anxiety. They are known as Minor tranquillisers as large doses can cause drowsiness and act as a sedative. Examples of Anti-anxiety drugs are Librium and Valium, which are relatively cheap and widely used. With Anti-anxiety drugs, they should only be prescribed for a short time as prolonged use can result in tolerance and dependency. Use of Anti-anxiety drugs for over six months can also cause people to experience withdrawal syndrome, which includes apprehension, anxiety tremor and muscle twitching. Otherwise, the short-term side effects Gelder adds have the properties of sedatives, hypnotics, muscle relaxant and anti-convulsing properties. They do not have as many possible side effects as Antipsychotics but are similar to the EP symptoms. EP side effects include muscle spasms, agitation, tremor, chewing and sucking movements. Antipsychotics are another type of drug and originally developed to calm patients facing surgery. In some cases, it allowed the most disturbed schizophrenics to live outside or reduce their length of stay at a hospital. It was found to be particularly effective in treating acute symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, excitement, thought disorder and delusions. ...read more.

Middle

It is also unethical too as full consent may not come from every patient. Even if the patients did give consent, they may not be in such a psychological state to understand the dangers with ECT. The benefits are short and the side effects are long. There is also evidence for suicide risks after ECT. Also the mortality rate is 3.6-9 per 100,000 treatments but is argued to be low compared to depression related suicides. The greatest problem, which has been mentioned from the associations MIND, PROMPT, and NAPA, is that death is a possibility. Any treatment with such a probability should be considered inappropriate. It seems also that there are more issues on the harmful effects of the treatment than there are good. Psychosurgery was first established by Jacobson when apparently, outbursts were abolished in chimpanzees. Moniz pioneered it as it was also found to tranquillise monkeys when surgery was performed on the frontal lobes. The procedure involved severing the neural connections between the pre-frontal areas and the hypothalamus and thalami. It was assumed that the thought (cortex) would be disconnected from the emotion (lower brain). Moniz also used practised the leucotomy (prefrontal lobotomy) where a hole was drilled just above the ears so that a probe could be inserted and destroy brain tissue. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the extra side effects in antipsychotics (not present of antidepressants) can be life threatening too (Hutton). This leaves antidepressants being the least risky. Inconsistencies in Psychosurgery and uncertainties in ECT outcomes, lower their reliability. There is no scientific evidence for the results of Psychosurgery and a lack of knowledge to the prefrontal lobes. The aim of ECT is vague, only identifying that the biochemical balance of nor-adrenaline and endorphins need to change. At least with Chemotherapy it is known that the drugs block D2 receptors for dopamine. However, if placebos were found to work, it could suggest that patients have a degree of control over them-selves and perhaps do not have a mental disorder because of a chemical imbalance. Unfortunately there is a lack of research in this area. In terms of the regularity of each therapy, anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed for up to 6months and possibly taken throughout the day. ECT is performed 2-3 times a week for 3-4 weeks which is less often as chemotherapy by it may take up more time as after each session, the patient cannot resume back to their activities. With Psychosurgery, it is unknown how many times it needs to be performed, but as the brain tissue can only be destroyed once, it may not need to be repeated. Unless however, the mental disorders have not been cured. ?? ?? ?? ?? 28/2/02 ...read more.

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