Drug treatment for Depression
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Biological psychologists argue that depression is caused by a lack of which chemicals?
Give three examples of monoamines
How do MOIs improve depressive symptoms?
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and serotonin meaning levels in the brain remain high
What are the drawbacks of MAOIs?
They are toxic and require dietary requirements
What are the functions of Tricyclics?
Slows the rate of re-absorption of noradrenaline and serotonin by preventing the re-uptake of neurotransmitters in the pre-synaptic vesicles of the brain
When are MAOIs used?
Only in cases where the patient does not respond well to other antidepressants
State 3 side effects of MAOIs and Tricyclics
- Possible heart attacks
- Erectile dysfunction
How do SSRIs function?
SSRIS function by preventing the re-uptake of serotonin in the presynaptic neuron, increasing serotonin levels in the brain
Give an example of an SSRI
Give two factors that make SSRIs more viable than other drug treatment
- SSRIs have fewer side effects
- You cannot overdose on SSRIs
How long does it take for SSRIs to yield symptomatic improvement?
Usually within 2 weeks
What is the foremost drug for Bipolar depression?
What is lithium carbonate thought to do?
Return dopamine and serotonin to normal levels
What does the ineffectiveness of lithium carbonate in treating unipolar depression suggest?
Unipolar and Bipolar depression have different causes
Why must lithium carbonate be taken continuously?
Discontinuation leads to mania
State 3 side effects of lithium carbonate
- Hand tremors
- Blurred vision
- Kidney and liver dysfunction
What did Gerbino et al find in 1978?
Lithium carbonate reduces the occurrence of manic and depressive episodes in 80% of patients with bipolar depression
What was the suicide rate of bipolar depression prior to the introduction of lithium carbonate?
15% (it is now much lower)
What are the rates of effectiveness for Tricyclics, MAOIs and SSRIs?
- Tricyclics: 60%
- MAOIs: 50%
- SSRIs: 60%
Describe Thase and Kupfers' 1996 study into the effectiveness of drug treatment
- Review of studies comparing the effectiveness of antidepressants with placebos in blind trials
- Acute depression was lifted in 50-70% of cases
- This was 40% higher than in placebo groups
What issues arise regarding the time taken for symptoms to improve?
Drugs change the levels of neurotransmitters within hours yet symptoms take 3-5 weeks to improve suggesting there must be other factors at play
What criticism did Cole raise in 1990?
There have been reports that drugs such as Prozac are associated with suicidal urges
Why is drug treatment criticised by freudian and cognitive psychotherapists?
- Treatment does nothing to address the route cause of the depression, only treating the symptoms it produces
- Many patients attend psychotherapeutic sessions to deal with the external stressors
How does treatment fallacy relate to drug treatment methods
- Improvement in symptoms with treatment from chemicals does not prove that they are caused by a lack of said chemicals.
- It is possible that depression causes the hormone imbalance
What effects does drug therapy have on the lifestyle of a patient?
Drug therapy allows people to integrate back into society, allowing them to keep symptoms under control and lead a normal life
Why can drug treatment not be used for everyone?
Some patients do not respond to antidepressants alone and must undergo other therapy types or multiple in conjunction
What ethical issues arise regarding drug treatment?
- Many drugs have upsetting and harmful side effects
- Misleading people into believing they are taking medication during studies involving placebos is morally questionable
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