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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive Therapy, also known as ECT or shock therapy, is by far the most controversial treatment for mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder (manic depression). Found here are articles and resources to medical and legal information, to sites supporting and opposing ECT, and to scientific studies as well as some firsthand experiences.
  1. ECT Pros & Cons (6)
  2. ECT Research (4)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a treatment for severe depression, including bipolar depression, where electric current is briefly passed through the brain. ECT is generally used when the patient hasn't responded to other forms of depression treatment. This article covers the definition of ECT, history, the process of receiving ECT, and the...

ECTs and Me
ECT saved my life but did not cure me - A woman's story of a struggle with life-threatening depression - to hope, recovery and professionalism.

Speaking from Experience - Electroshock Therapy
Has your doctor prescribed treatment with electroconvulsive therapy for manic depression? Are you considering it? Read what others have to say about their experiences with ECT.

Andy Behrman tells about the reasons why he underwent a year-long course of electroconvulsive therapy - ECT - also known as shock treatments, for bipolar disorder - manic depression - and what was both good and bad in the results. This article predates the publication of Andy's book 'Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania' by about two years.

Electroconvulsive Therapy Defined

Administering ECT
How should ECT be administered to maximize benefits and minimize risks? From the National Library of Medicine.

Electroconvulsive Therapy During Pregnancy
Psychiatric illness during pregnancy often presents a clinical dilemma. Pharmacologic interventions that are usually effective for these disorders have teratogenic potential and are therefore contraindicated during pregnancy. However, an alternative treatment exists: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the induction of a series of generalized seizures.

ECT's Effectiveness
A look at the efficacy of ECT for specific disorders including depression and mania. Highly clinical language.

Electroconvulsive Therapy Overview
Electroconvulsive Therapy has received some bad press as a result of what the treatment used to be. Yet "ECT has a higher success rate for severe depression than any other form of treatment."

Is ECT the Only Alternative?
A question and reassuring answer from the Mental Health Forum of the Henry Ford Behavioral Health Center.

Legal Parameters of Informed Consent
This article by John Parry discusses legal decisions regarding consent issues, competency and commitment.

New and Old Devices for Administering ECT
Today, anesthesia, muscle relaxants, re-engineered machines and repositioned electrodes buffer the jolt, and insights about the biochemistry of depression ease the stigma. As a result, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is being used more readily and more successfully. However, not everything has changed.

Position of the Canadian Psychiatric Association
ECT remains an important part of the therapeutic armamentarium in contemporary psychiatric practice. Although the mechanism of action of ECT is not completely understood, over 50 years of clinical experience and a substantial volume of research have lead to the Canadian Psychiatric Association's current recommendation that ECT should remain readily available as a treatment option. (PDF)

The Sorry Portrayal of ECT in Film
The portrayal of ECT in film has been deplorable and with little resemblance to modern practice. The audience is left with the impression of a brutal, harmful and abusive treatment with no therapeutic benefit. It encourages stigmatization and discourages patients from its use.

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