Somatic therapies stem from the expectance of the medical model ofPsychology. They are therapies which take a physical or physiologicalapproach, Somatic means ‘to do with the body.”Therapies focus on altering how the brain and body are working with the aimof reducing or removing the symptoms the patient is suffering from.
Thethree main treatment groups are chemical, physical and electrical.The treatment known as Chemotherapy is the most successful of all to date.Chemotherapy is used to correct the balance of chemicals in the bodythrough application of drugs.Two main drug groups are MAOIs and Tricycles. MAIOs work by inhibitingmonoamine oxides, which in turn causes the levels of serotonin in the body.Tricycles slow down the reabsorb ion of seratonin in the body so it cancontinue to stimulate the poilsyaplic neuron.
Chemotherapy tends to take responsibility away from the patient and ontothe psychiatrist or therapist.The main disadvantage of this kind of treatment is it treats the symptomsbut not the cause of the problem as a result there is the danger that thesymptoms will reappear once the course of medication comes to an end. Forthis reason chemotherapy is often combined with a different therapy.
However the advantage of chemotherapy is that patients do not have to beinstitutionalised while under treatment and aggressive or extremelydelusional patients can be treated with drugs illuminating the need forforceful and sometimes brutal restraints. However there is the question asto whether this type of treatment is to benefit the institution/society orthe patient.Chemotherapy is useful for treating mental illnesses caused by biochemicalabnormalities such as forms of depression and schizophrenia.Schizophrenia is commonly treated with the use of Neuroleptic drugs such asthioxantheus. These drugs reduce the positive symptoms of schizophreniasuch as delusions but have little affect on the negative ones.
Windgassen (1992) found that despite their usefulness neuroleptic drugscould have serious limitations due to their side effects. Half the patientsundergoing treatment for schizophrenia stated they experienced sedation,18% experienced problems with concentration and 16% suffered from blurredvision.For these reasons only the smallest possible dose of neuroleptic drugs aregiven to the patient and patients often have ‘drug holidays’ wheremedication is not administrated.Electro convulsive therapy or ECT is another treatment, which is quitedrastic and used as a last resort. It has been found to be very successfulin treating patients suffering from severe depression although the reasonsfor the treatment’s success are not clear, it’s mode is indeterminate.In broad terms ECT works by inducing an artificial electric shock bypassing a currant of electricity through the brain. The treatment isaccompanied by muscle relaxants and repeated on about six occasions,usually every other day.
The third kind of treatment is physical and involves surgery on the brain;again this is last resort treatment for mental illness.Some forms of surgery such as the leucotomy are deigned to produce ageneral change in behaviour while others have a specific purpose such asthe severing of the corpus callosum that is used to treat severe epilepsy.