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4) Biological Treatment – Drug Therapy

Treatments based upon the biological approach aim to fix the biological problems in the brain. There are two main types of biological treatment: drug therapy and ECT.

Drug Therapy

Drug therapy is largely based upon the dopamine hypothesis. Conventional antipsychotics aim to reduce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. These drugs bind to the dopamine receptors, but do not stimulate them. This blocks the sites meaning that the dopamine cannot affect the neurons.

Recent advances in drug therapy have led to new ‘atypical’ drugs. These work in the same way as conventional drugs, except they quickly ‘dissociate’ from the dopamine receptors, meaning dopamine can still reach the receptors, just in lowers levels. Similarly to conventional drugs, atypical drugs reduce positive symptoms; however they can also reduce negative symptoms as well.

Evaluation of Drug Therapy

+ Research has proven these drugs work!

+ One of the big positives of chemotherapy is that it requires very little effort from the user; they just have to take some drugs. However, this is not always true as most doctors use chemotherapy alongside another therapy.

However, there are several criticisms of drug therapy. Some psychologists suggest that the drugs are merely placebos. The user feels like they should have reduced symptoms and this positive thinking does reduce the effect of the symptoms.

– Another weakness of drug therapy is that it isn’t a cure, it just temporarily reduces the symptoms; as soon as the patient stops taking them, the symptoms return.

All the drugs used to treat schizophrenia have different side effects; these could include weight gain, tremors and drowsiness.


About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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