They revolutionised psychiatry by allowing the most disturbed schizophrenic patients live outside a psychiatric hospital, or reduce their average length of stay. However, many critics have called these drugs pharmacological straitjackets. Some drugs are more effective in treating acute positive symptoms such s hallucination, thought disorder and delusions; they seem to work by blocking the D2 receptor of dopamine. There are two main two main drug categories; neuroleptic drugs which are the more traditional used drugs and the newer version atypical drugs. Common neuroleptic drugs such as Thorzine aim to block the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine within 48 hours, which have proven to be effective.
Support for this theory is the effect of amphetamines. These drugs work by increasing the levels of dopamine. When the drugs given to a non- schizophrenic the individual has been found to develop schizophrenic-like symptoms, this therefore suggests that the increased dopamine levels is likely to be linked to the disorder. Furthermore patients with schizophrenia have been found to have symptoms worsen when they have taken amphetamines. Grilly had found people with Parkinson’s disease (low levels of dopamine) who were taking the drug L-dopa to raise their levels of dopamine were developing schizophrenic type symptoms.
Antidepressants on the other hand by balancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and epinephrine witch can cause depression if not sufficiently balanced. Anxiolytic drugs are used to combat anxiety disorders one drug in this field is benzodiazepines (Bzs) they work by releasing more (GABA) witch slows down the nerve transmission calming people down. This drug is effective in areas such as phobias. Another biological therapy is ECT, it is a surgical based treatment commonly used on manic depressives who haven’t responded to antidepressants. This treatment is administrated to a patient by putting a patient into an unconscious state then passing a current of 0.6 amps through the brain.
However, increased levels of dopamine stimulated by amphetamines have shown an increase in aggression whereas antipsychotic drugs that reduce dopamine levels have been shown to reduce violent behaviour (Lavine and Buitelaar). Interestingly, a study by Couppis and Kennedy (2008) using mice, found that dopamine acts as a positive reinforcer in the response to an aggressive event. This would
Most mental health experts agree that when depression is severe, medication can be helpful, even life saving. Other studies show that the benefits of depression medication have been exaggerated. When it comes to mild to moderate depression, antidepressants are only slightly more effective than Natural Cures. They altar chemicals in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine causing the body to be more prone to side
A narcotic is an addictive drug that reduces pain, induces sleep and may alter mood or behaviour. In medicine, an analgesic narcotic means opioid, which refers to all natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic substances that act pharmacologically like morphine, the primary constituent of natural opium. The opioids are classified on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) list of prohibited substances and methods as narcotics. In order to train for longer or even when injured, athletes may takes substances such as narcotics which help to numb any pain that they are experiencing. Examples of banned narcotics include morphine, heroin, the heroin substitute methadone and the pain killer codeine.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a complex disorder, for which biological explanations have been put forward, with varying degrees of success. One biological explanation which has been proposed for SZ is the Dopamine Hypothesis. This theory suggests that SZ results from over-activity in the brain dopamine (DA) systems. The excess in the brain’s DA systems is both an excess of DA being released from neurons into the synapse, and an excess of DA receptors, meaning that the excess DA released is absorbed into the nervous system. Schizophrenic patients also tend to have increased DA sensitivity, meaning that even if their brain’s DA systems were working at a ‘normal’ level their symptoms might still be present.
(Catherine Harrison, PhD, January 10, 2008) B. Drugs that remedy or lessen effects Antipsychotic and atypical antipsychotic drugs are used to treat this disorder such as: Risperidone and Clozapine among others. C. How these drugs help These medications cannot “cure” the illness, but they can take away many of the symptoms or make them milder. In some cases, they can shorten the course of an episode of the illness as well. These medications affect neurotransmitters that allow communication between nerve cells.
* Antidepressants e.g. Cipramil – Work by changing the chemical balance in the brain that can change the psychological state of the mind such as depression. Side effects – blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, increased appetite, nausea, restlessness, trembling and difficulty with sleeping. These are the most common side effects. Other side effects can occur such as dry mouth, sweating and constipation.
Those who are drug resistant may be offered clozapine which in an atypical drug and has a similar effect to chlorpromazine, reducing positive symptoms and some negative symptoms. Clozapine is effective in 50% of drug resistant patients however this still means that 15% of schizophrenics do not respond to drug treatments and therefore this suggests that brain neurochemistry is only one in a number of factors that cause schizophrenia. There are side effects with both of these drug treatments, clozapine can weaken and damage the immune system and chlorpromazine may cause the schizophrenic to develop facial tics which is known as tarrdive dyskinesia. It is therefore very important that patients receive the correct dosage because if they are given too little then the drugs are unlikely to benefit the patient and if given too much then they may be exposed to unnecessary side effects