PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Developed in the 1960s Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) Increase the amount of Noradrenaline (Norepinephrine) in the synapse By inhibiting the action of Monoamines (enzymes which break Noradrenaline down) MAOIs are effective BUT Have unwanted side-effects Even life threatening Certain foods react adversely with the drug. Usually only prescribed when other meds have proved ineffective. TRICYCLIC ANTIDEPRESSANTS Raise levels of serotonin and Noradrenaline in the brain. Block the reuptake of Noradrenaline. MORE NORADRENALINE AVAILABLE IN THE SYNAPSE TRICYCLICS Shown to be quite effective and have fewer side-effects than MAOIs. BUT Do not focus on Noradrenaline only. They block the reuptake of Serotonin as well. SSRI DRUGS Focus on serotonin And block its re-uptake. E.g. Prozac EVALUATION Originally thought to be free from side-effects and prescribed liberally. Doubts raised concerning suicide But this could be due to a very depressed person beginning to get better and more motivated to act on suicidal thoughts. All drugs have potential side-effects. Some work for one person and not for another. Some cause drowsiness Some are lethal if overdosed on. This makes them unsuitable if a person is potentially suicidal. Drug therapies (particularly tricyclics and MAOIs have an almost immediate effect on neurotransmitter levels in the brain. However, symptoms of low mood do not lift for a few weeks. This raises questions about the causal link between low levels of neurotransmitters and depression. Difficult to assess. Medication seems to be more effective than placebos (Thase and Kupfer, 1996). However, depression incorporates a wide range of symptoms which may respond differently to different treatments. Symptoms often return when drugs are no longer taken. Drugs have to be taken for some time after the patient has shown improvement. This is known as ‘maintenance therapy’ and significantly reduces the risk of relapse. Furthermore, it is difficult to assess whether a person is cured or not. Faulty logic suggests that because a particular drug provides relief from symptoms and raises the levels of a particular chemical in the brain, it must be the lack of that particular chemical that is the underlying cause.