What´s Electroconvulsive Therapy?

1475 WordsJun 22, 20186 Pages
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was first developed in 1938. It has a history of abuse, exploited as a means of punishing or controlling people in mental hospitals, consequently ECT had poor reputation with negative depictions, but since then it has drastically improved with confirmed effectiveness. Despite the improvement in techniques, the use of ECT continues to decline since the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE,2003) states that it should only be administered to severely depressed patients for whom psychotherapy and medication have proved ineffective or when the condition is considered potentially life threatening. For example, when there is a risk of suicide or risk to others because ECT has much quicker results than…show more content…
Yet, the biggest risk of ECT is that is causes memory impairments for events surrounding or preceding the ECT. Both types of memories are affected including past (retrograde amnesia), and the ability to remember new information (anterograde amnesia).Similarly, the Department of Health (2007) found that among those receiving ECT within the last two years, 30% reported that it had resulted in permanent fear and anxiety. Furthermore, it can be argued that applying an electrical current to the brain is a frightening and forceful form of intervention hence ethical issues related to ECT are questionable. On the other hand, majority of the side effects linked to ECT are usually minor and can be managed by careful screening of patients, close monitoring during ECT and regular administration of medications. ECT is beneficial as it quickly relieves symptoms of major depression such as depressed mood, lack of interest, appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, feelings of hopelessness, loss of self-esteem, and thoughts of suicide. Similarly, the remission of ECT is reported to range from 20-80 per cent. Extensive research has also suggested that ECT does not cause permanent brain damage as once thought and the risk of mortality is 1 in 10,000. Additionally, ECT is only administered after
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