Electroconvulsive Therapy: a Modern Analysis

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Electroconvulsive Therapy – Modern Analysis
By Owen Manuél

A lot of the controversial arguments of ECT are based on the history, side-effects and the inducement of the therapy. Many claim that physically inducing somebody to have a convulsion cannot possibly a form of therapy. What is to be noted is that the procedure is done in extreme circumstances and not as a punishment. In 1939 when ECT was introduced it replaced the drug Pentylenetetrazol (metrazol) which induced fits into individuals for them to make them better. It has to be said that when the treatment was used back then there was very little research done all that psychiatrist’s and scientists knew were that it works and had a relevant success rate the one research which helped bring ECT about was that Schizophrenics and Depressive individuals seemed to be much better after having an epileptic fit. ECT has little side effects which include; headaches, memory loss and a 1 in 50,000 chance of injury or death due to using the general anaesthetic which is no more chance than when dental anaesthetic is used on an individual. Modern day ECT is very safe you will be connected up to equipment which will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels etc. and possibly an EEG machine which will monitor your brain wave levels when having the fit. You’re then giving general anaesthetic (needle inserted into hand) and a muscle relaxant which will stop you from having violent convulsions during the fit. You will then be giving an electric current which passes through your brain which is enough to power a 100w light bulb for a second. When the fit is happening it will be done while you are unconscious and because of the muscle relaxants you will not experience violent convulsions. Many just experience a few twitches in the toes. The fit will be induced for between 20 – 50 seconds and after which you should soon wake up and you may experience slight headaches and aching muscles. ECT treatment is usually...
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