PSYC 1200 Lecture 8e
Chapter 15: Biology-Based Treatments
Biology-Based Approaches mental illness as if they were diseases that can be treated medically.
Treatments Psychiatrists and physicians adopt this method.
Antipsychotics Used for treating positive symptoms of schizophrenia by reducing activity of dopamine circuits.
Problem: side effects (e.g. tremors, dry mouth) and inability to reduce negative symptoms
e.g. Thorazine, Haldol, Clozaril.
Antidepressants Used for treating depression, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder by increasing levels of serotonin,
norepinephrine, or dopamine in the brain to promote calmness and increased arousal.
Problem: side effects (e.g. dry mouth, headaches, nausea, restlessness)
e.g. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (Nardil), Tricyclic Antidepressants (Elavil), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Prozac).
Tranquilizers Used for treating problems with high anxiety associated with phobias and panic disorder by mimicking neurotransmitter GABA,
which has an inhibitory function in the brain, producing a powerful calming/blissful effect.
Problem: highly addictive.
e.g. Valium, Xanax
Lithium Bicarbonate Used for treating bipolar disorder by stabilizing these roller coaster of moods through moderating levels of norepinephrine.
Problem: side effects (e.g. tremors, kidney damage); too little is ineffective and too much is fatal; getting the correct dosage is hard.
Problems with Placebo Effects:
Medicating Many people respond positively to a drug because of their own expectations, not the drug itself.
Psychological New drugs that may appear effective when introduced may be less effective when the excitement dies down.
Disorders Many People Stop Taking Them:
Side effects cause many people who benefit from medication to stop taking it.
Mentally disordered patients are often not organized enough to take them.
Hard to find the most effective dosage for treating a specific person’s symptoms.
Many years of using these drugs can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Antipsychotic drugs cause Tardive dyskinesia (hand tremors and involuntary movements) in 25-33% of long-term users.
Over-Prescribed and Wrongly Prescribed:
Physicians may inappropriately prescribe drugs for mild psychological disorders or prescribe drugs for psychological
problems they’re not designed to solve.
Medication only helps if biology is the root cause of psychological problems.
Drugs will be much less helpful if your symptoms are caused by your environment, prior learning, the way you think, etc.
Other Biological Prefrontal Lobotomy (1930s-1950s by Egas Moniz):
Strategies Used as a common treatment for schizophrenia by severing the prefrontal lobotomy from the rest of the brain.
Eliminates positive symptoms as well as abilities necessary for healthy functioning (e.g. motivation, forming opinions).
Cingulotomy (Present Day):
Psychosurgery that involves burning boles in the brains frontal lobes.
Used for severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but there is not much evidence of its effectiveness
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):
Involves passing electric current through the brain, triggering a 1 min. seizure.
Effective in extreme, suicidal cases of Major Depress