Electroconvulsive Therapy: Does It Work?

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Robert Kargher

Electroconvulsive therapy does it really work? Since its start of use in 1938, electroconvulsive therapy has been in much debate over its practice and effectiveness. Its inventor ladislas Meduna, suggested that by “changing the chemical composition of the brain” through ECT we could effectively treat schizophrenia. As he did not realize that these induced seizures had a lot of major physiological consequences. Were these really psychological changes or were they a combination of biochemical induced changes that had caused some type of neurological damage that effected there particular alignment? The controversial history of Ect has never helped this particular therapy among patients of the modern age. From its debut in the 1940’s all the way up to the early 70’s it was considered to be the “ jolt a mental patient needed to get out of their dream world and back into sanity” as stated by one physiotherapist. During the earlier period when convulsive therapies were first being introduced, it wasn’t outlandish to hear commentators explaining it may seem “barbaric” but insanity may no longer be regarded as a hopeless disease.” This revolutionary treatment (ECT) is restoring sanity to thousands of patients. The rationale for the therapy was that an induced convulsion would disrupt the patients thinking and restore to some sense of reality or “normality”. As early as the 1920’s one of the first convulsion therapy using insulin was administered on schizophrenic patients. Patients were injected with insulin to induce a coma (sometimes it induced convulsions), than they would inject glucose to wake them up. Even though it had high risk it outweighed the positive benefits it had on the patient. Another drug Metrazol, which was originally used for heart patients, also...
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