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Biological Therapies for Schizophrenia

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Critically discuss biological therapies for schizophrenia (8+16)

The first biological therapy used to treat schizophrenia is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is only used for severely depressed patients, who have failed to respond to psychotherapy and medication. It is used usually when there is a large risk of suicide because it produces much quicker results than drugs. When the treatment is given an electrode is placed on the non-dominant side of the brain above the temple and the second is placed in the middle of the forehead or both can be placed on each temple. The patient is then given an injection which makes them unconscious before the electric shock is given. A nerve blocking agent is also given to the patient to prevent them contracting their muscles during the treatment avoiding possible injuries such as fractures. The patient is also given oxygen to compensate for their breathing during the procedure. An electric current of around 0.6amps is then given for around half a second which passes through the brain. The current produces a seizure lasting up to one minute, which then affects the entire brain. ECT is usually given 3 times a week with the patient requiring 3 to 15 treatments.
However this is often used as a last result if all other options have failed as Abrams concluded that after using it for 50 years that we are still no closer to understanding why it works. It is known that it brings about a change to the brain but what change it makes cannot be 100% confirmed.
Using ECT has many positives to using this method with the main one being that it saves life’s by preventing suicides that would have otherwise taken place. Another positive is that ECT is highly effective with 60-70% of patients improving after treatment.
There are also many negatives using ECT such as the experiment conducted with the sham ECT. This study involved…...

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