Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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OCD as an example Squiggles

Posted by alexandra_k on October 10, 2006, at 23:02:16

In reply to Re: experts say...ditch schizophrenia label alexandra_k, posted by Squiggles on October 10, 2006, at 20:40:10

'The first example comes from a neuroimagine study of the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Both cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy and medications are known to be effective treatments for OCD. In this study, patients' cerebral glucose metabolism was imaged by means of positron emission tomography (PET) scans before and after treatment (Schwartz, Stoessel, Baxter, Martin, & Phelps, 1996). Some patients were treated with psychotherapy and others with medication. Regardless of the type of treatment, patients who responded favorably to treatment showed metabolic changes in the same brain structures. What may seem surprising about this result is that (1) psychotherapy changes brain metabolism, and (2) psychotherapy and medication affect the same neural systems. But unless we are dualists, we know that psychotherapy has to change brain function to change behaviour. Because altered activity of certain brain structures (e.g., the basal ganglia) produces the symptoms of OCD, a successful treatment must alter the activity of these critical brain structures. Undoubtedly, the exact process by which psychotherapy and medication produce this similar effect are different. Medication directly alters neurotransmitter levels and hence the activity of certain structures. Psychotherapy teaches strategies for managing obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. But to work, these strategies must somehow affect brain function.

"The Development of Psychopathology" p. 12

A few things to think about:

1) Do medications exclusively target the problematic brain function or are their effects more widespread (i.e., affecting systems that don't need to be targeted)?
2) Are the negative side effects of therapy more extensive than medication or vice versa?




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