Biological Treatments for Schizophrenia

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Biological Treatments

The biological approach suggests that schizophrenia is a disorder caused by genetic abnormalities, neurotransmitter levels and brain structure irregulations. Therefore the biological treatments focus of restoring theses to normal levels with the main focus being on drug therapy.

Schizophrenia is implicated with an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine, so conventional anti-psychotic drugs such as Chlorpromazine reduce dopamine levels. They bind to dopamine receptors, blocking dopamine and reducing its levels.

Positively, Chlorpromazine is 70% effective making it the most effective drug treatment. However, this is not 100% effective and questions the other 30% who it doesn’t work for.

Thus, those who don’t respond to Chlorpromazine are prescribed atypical antipsychotic drugs such as Clozapine.  This acts on the dopamine system as well blocking serotonin receptors, suggesting that serotonin is implicated with schizophrenia as well as dopamine.

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Clozapine has less side effects than Chlorpromazine but negatively affects the immune system. These effects can be counteracted by other drugs but they are costly for the patient.

Both drugs have limitations. It has also been found, mostly with conventional antipsychotic drugs that tariff dyskinesia is a major side effect and roughly 30% of those taking it will develop the disorder, irreversible for 75% of those taking them.

A further limitation with drug treatments is relapse. Davis et al’s meta-analysis found that relapse occurred in 55% of the patients who took drug treatments. This suggests that for half ...

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