• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate biological therapies to treat mental disorders.

Extracts from this document...


Outline three different biological (somatic) therapies (15 marks) The biological model of abnormality assumes that all mental disorders are caused by physical factors, for example some mental disorders are caused by the dysfunction of neurotransmission, such as too much dopamine in the brain causing schizophrenia, and so the treatments provided by the biological model all aim to address physical problems in the brain that have resulted in abnormal behaviour. The most widely used form of treatment available under biological therapies is chemotherapy (drugs) with almost 25% of NHS prescriptions being for drugs to treat mental disorders. There are three main types of drugs available to treat mental disorders, the first of these being neuroleptics. Neuroleptics are also referred to as anti-psychotics and are used to treat severe disorders such as schizophrenia. Most neuroleptics block dopamine receptors in the brain, as schizophrenics are found to have more dopamine in the brain than those without schizophrenia. Other neuroleptics simply inhibit the functioning of the hypothalamus which dampens the effect of the dopamine. ...read more.


He also proposed that memory loss due to ECT could permit cognitive restructuring and stop negative thinking. Finally he also proposed that ECT could stimulate neurotransmitters to receive more serotonin. Finally the third therapy available under the biological model is psychosurgery. Psychosurgery is used to treat severe mood disorders, aggression, OCD, eating disorders, anxiety and schizophrenia. Most operations involve destroying some of the nerves of the limbic system which is responsible for control and regulation of emotions, and areas of the brain can be isolated by cutting its connections with the rest of the brain. However this therapy is only ever used as a last resort when chemotherapy and ECT has not worked. There are several forms of psychosurgery, the original being the prefrontal lobotomy developed by Moniz who observed that aggression in chimps could be stopped by removing part of the frontal lobes and severing connections. Moniz claimed a 70% success rate with human patients and was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work. ...read more.


Ethically there are issues with ECT because we are unsure as to how it actually works which begs the question, should we be using this therapy at all? In this sense ECT could be likened to kicking a television when it is not working. However ECT does follow ethical guidelines as informed consent is required. Psychosurgery is also appropriate to treat depression, in addition to other mood disorders, aggression, OCD, eating disorders and anxiety disorders. Psychosurgery is also proven to be effective, with a study by Mind finding out of 42 operations carried 34 patients had some to significant improvement. Baer et al also found that OCD patients also improved following psychosurgery. Recently magnetic stimulation has also been found to help stuttering in patients. As with ECT however, Psychosurgery also has a number of side effects including: epilepsy, memory loss, paralysis, confusion and permanently reduced creativity. Ethically psychosurgery is also questionable because it is irreversible (except for magnetic stimulation) and again we are not sure how it works so should it be performed? Again though there are ethical considerations that must be taken into account and informed consent is needed along with an independent doctor's agreement. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and Evaluate the Biological Treatments of OCD

    3 star(s)

    This case study was conducted by Carey (2003) who found that ethical considerations were also an issue as the family had not been fully informed of the dangerous and experimental nature of the surgery. Therefore, if a patient is particularly disturbed, they may not be able to truly give informed consent as they are unable to understand what

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Describe and evaluate the causes of mental disorders from two different approaches

    3 star(s)

    According to this approach all behaviour, normal or abnormal, is learnt. The process in which behaviour is learnt is known as conditioning. There are two main types of conditioning which are known as classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is learning through association.

  1. Anxiety Disorders

    Typically GAD develops over a period of time and may not be noticed until it is significant enough to cause problems with functioning. Symptoms As its name implies, GAD is evidenced by general feelings of anxiety such as mild heart palpitations, dizziness, and excessive worry.

  2. Discuss Biological Therapies for Depression.

    However, because antidepressants are easily accessible and cheap, this can also be a weakness as depressed people can get addicted or dependant on the drugs. For example, if a person gets depressed, they will just rely on the antidepressants to cure them.

  1. Outline and evaluate biological therapies for schizophrenia (8 and 16 marks)

    This demonstrates clearly that the drugs must interact with environmental triggers and thus may be better used combined with psychological therapies too and so are an incomplete therapy on its own. Nevertheless, a meta-review by Davis showed the effectiveness of antipsychotics.

  2. Psychology essay: Outline and evaluate biological therapies for schizophrenia

    The genetics theory is a biological approach that supports the nature side of the nature/nurture debate. However, it is reductionistic to suggest that either nature or nurture solely influences the development of schizophrenia. It is likely that a diathesis-stress model is at work; a biological predisposition for schizophrenia is the

  1. Describe biological therapies for schizophrenia

    Although these drugs are effective in treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia they are proven to be ineffective at treating the negative symptoms. The second type of drug therapy are atypical drugs they also act on the dopamine system, by blocking the receptors short term but are thought to block serotonin receptors in the brain too.

  2. Discuss two or more biological therapies for phobic disorders

    By blocking them it makes it harder to stimulate cells in these parts of the body, so the heart beats slower with less force and blood vessels contract easier.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work