Evaluation of Anti Psychotic Drugs
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How have drugs revolutionised schizophrenia management?
- Before anti-psychotics, 50% of schizophrenic patients admitted into hospitals stayed for life
- Treatment of patients was brutal and ineffective (ECT, Psychosurgery)
- Proper care was not given with patients controlled rather than treated (straight jackets)
- Only 3% of Schizophrenics are in hospital today and only for a few weeks
How is the minimal time spent in hospitals a good thing for Schizophrenics?
- Reduces the social stigma of them being crazy and locked away
- Allows them to live a more normal life, potentially socialising and getting a job
- Reduces the perceived effect of labelling theory
- Allows patients to spend more time with family and friends who can give them specific care and support
- Less taxing on NHS funding
Why is the benefit of drugs only temporary?
- Drug treatment does not cure schizophrenia, it merely delays relapse
- If the drugs are not taken, relapse occurs
Why is it inadvisable to take very strong drugs for long periods of time?
- Side effects such as Agranulocytosis are more likely to occur
- Cognitive function could be irreversibly damaged
- Drugs are costly and financially ruining if taken for very long periods of time
How is compliance an issue for drug treatment?
- The treatment relies on patients sticking to a strict regime and taking pills regularly
- Patents can refuse to take drugs as they might be put off by the negative side effects
- Some side effects include poor memory so the patient might simply forget to take their pills
What is revolving door syndrome?
- The patient gets stuck in a negative cycle due to drug therapy
- The patient is admitted to hospital, given drugs and discharged into the community upon symptomatic improvement
- If the patient stops taking the drugs whilst discharged, the symptoms recur quickly learning to readmission into hospital
How might revolving door syndrome negatively affect a patient?
- They might feel demoralised as nothing they can do will cure them
- They might hate taking drugs but feel dependant on them
- These factors could increase suicide risk
What is depot medication?
- The medication is released slowly over weeks
- Can be administered via injection into a large muscle by a medical professional in hospital or at an outpatient clinic
- Reduces the risk of the patient refusing treatment as medication need not be taken daily
- There are other risks such as phobia of needles, however
What ethical issues are raised by drug therapy?
- Some consider it to be nothing more than a chemical straight jacket, dehumanising the individual by taking away personal responsibility and control
- There is debate to whether the patient has the right to refuse treatment as they are often in a psychotic state and unable to make informed decisions
What ethical issues surround the risk of drugs and the psychotic nature of schizophrenia?
If the patient is often in a psychotic state and unable to make informed decisions, they might not be aware of the potential side effects of the drugs they are taking
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