The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients with Severe Depression or Schizophrenia

The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients with Severe Depression or Schizophrenia

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The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients with Severe Depression or Schizophrenia


“In surveys, individuals with both a history of severe depression and a history of physical trauma due to an accident ranked the pain of mental illness as much worse than that of physical trauma” (Isaac 5). Mental illnesses cause immense suffering and potentially even death; in the year 2000, the suicide rate of patients suffering from depression was estimated at fifteen percent. This is a testament to the fact that mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia are serious issues, and those suffering from them deserve the most effective treatment available. Many psychiatrists turn to anti-depressants and “talk-therapy” in attempts to heal their patients; however, there are other options. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as electroshock, or simply electrotherapy, is a controversial treatment of numerous mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. The procedure consists of sending an electric current through the brain, essentially shocking it and inducing a seizure. There are many known side-effects, including memory loss; however, their prevalence and magnitude are much debated and far over-dramatized, creating a negative reputation. The origin of this reputation lies in electroconvulsive therapy’s questionable history. Many people look at the use of electroshock in the past, rather than the current advancements that have been made, providing an unfair prejudice regarding the procedure’s use today and causing the population to associate electroconvulsive therapy with images of torture. Despite the preconceived notions that
the procedure is cruel and often unsuccess...


... middle of paper ...


...lectroconvulsive Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Schizophrenia and Depression.” Mental Illness. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff and Laura K. Egendorf. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. George Mason University. 28 Sep. 2012..

Kneeland, Timothy W., and Carol A.B. Warren. Pushbutton Psychiatry: A History of Electroshock in America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

Sherer, Richard A. "Kitty Dukakis Book: In Praise of ECT- Despite the Memory Issue.(electroconvulsive therapy)(Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy)." Psychiatric Times 23.13 (Nov 1, 2006): 1. Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. George Mason University. 7 Dec. 2012. 
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Thackery, Ellen, and Madeline Harris. The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Group, 2003.

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