Electroconvulsive Therapy: What Is It and Is It Safe?

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Many treatments within the medical field have been considered controversial, but even after seventy-eight years of use electroconvulsive therapy, also referred to as ECT, is still one of the most questionable treatments. Just like any other treatment ECT has its risk and advantages, but it seems to have an even more negative connotation than other controversial treatments due to its violent history. Throughout the seventy-eight years that ECT has been around, research has been done to learn more about the treatment, which disorders it can be useful for, and what side effects can occur. The research has led to adjustments being made to the procedure and has significantly improved patient safety. The success of electroconvulsive therapy can be shown by numbers and case opinions; it may work for one person, but not another. Several strides have been made in the medical field in regards to electroconvulsive therapy. The treatment is defined as “a medical procedure in which a brief electrical stimulus is used to induce a cerebral seizure under controlled conditions” (Enns, Reiss & Chan, 2010). It is used for a handful of mental illnesses, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, but when it was introduced in 1938 by Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bin, its main use was to treat schizophrenia (Enns, Reiss & Chan, 2010). ECT can indeed be effective for schizophrenia, but the best results are when the “… duration of [the] illness is relatively brief or when catatonic or affective symptoms are prominent” (Enns, Reiss & Chan, 2010). Unlike schizophrenia, the best results from ECT have come from treatments with patients who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and alternative methods are no longer working... ... middle of paper ... ...e treatment in any way possible, but there is also situational based success. Just like medication does not help all patients, there is not a one hundred percent guarantee that the electroconvulsive therapy treatment with help all patients who deal with mental health issues. Works Cited Cyrzyk, T. (2013). Electroconvulsive therapy: Why it is still controversial. Mental Health Practice, 16(7).  (Cyrzyk, 2013) (2007). Electroconvulsive therapy. Harvard Health Publications. The Harvard Mental Health Letter.  (“Electroconvulsive therapy, 2007) Enns, M. W. M., Reiss, J. P. M. M., & Chan, P. M. (2010). Electroconvulsive therapy. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(6).  (Enns, Reiss & Chan, 2010) Kelly, S., & Kelly, L. (2013). Improving patient safety and quality of care for patients receiving electroconvulsive therapy. Mental Health Practice.  (Kelly & Kelly, 2013)

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