Discuss two biological therapies for depression. You should refer to research evidence in your answer.

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Discuss two biological therapies for depression. You should refer to research evidence in your answer.

(8 marks + 16 marks)

Drugs are the first port of call for individuals suffering from depression and there are three main drug therapies that are used to treat the mood disorder. Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used for treating depression as they are effective in treating the symptoms of depression but they do cause unwanted side effects that can, in extreme cases, could be life threatening. Individuals that are prescribed MAOIs need to restrict their diets to exclude foods that react adversely with the drug. They are usually prescribed when other medications have proved ineffective for the particular patient.

Another type of antidepressant that is used to treat depression is tricyclic antidepressants. They work by raising levels of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. The specific effects depend on the mechanisms targeted. They have been shown to be quite effective in alleviating symptoms of depression and have fewer side effects than MAOIs.

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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are drugs such as fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac), were originally though to be free of side effects and were prescribed extensively. In the last few years, doubts were raised about their safety and in particular, there were reports linking Prozac to suicidal behavior.

Despite drugs having a 60% effectiveness rate within individuals with depression, there are a few limitations to this method of therapy. Firstly, all drugs work as a ‘chemical straightjacket’. The drugs do not provide a complete cure from depression, as there is some evidence that symptoms return when the drugs are ...

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The Quality of Written Communication is excellent. The candidate masterfully uses the complex terminology of Psychology and shows the examiner they are proficient at applying it to their essays. There are very few spelling or grammatical errors and no causes for concern in terms of conveying the intention of the essay.

The Level of Analysis is good and is indiciative of a candidate operating at a high B grade. But to achieve the lost marks and pull the grade up to a strong A grade, all the candidate needs to do is concentrate on getting a better analysis of the ECT argument. There are two good strengths and two good weakness provided for the drugs treatment argument, as well as a good level of description about the effectivity of such treatments, but there is only one strength and one weakness for the ECT argument, meaning the discussion is not balanced. Candidates should look to monitor their time better in accordance with the marks available; perhaps try to cut down on some of the description of the drug treatments as there are only 8 marks available for AO1 (knowledge and understanding) and 16 for AO2 (analysis), so logically, less would need to be written for AO1. As it stands, this essay can expect to achieve 6 + 10, making a total of 16 marks out of 24.

This is a very strong essay, although there is, as with a lot of questions in this format, a clear bias of time and knowledge towards one of the biological therapies to treating an affective disorder. The drugs treatment argument here is a brilliantly-written discussion, though the ECT argument suggests the candidate may have run out of time as they have not discussed it in quite the same level of detail. This is why time management is so important for long essay questions like this. If time management is not considered then the answer can, as this one does, veer into an unbalanced argument with one superfluously-described therapy and one average one.