Electroshock therapy is now mainstream! Good or bad for psychiatric patients?
Here's the facts: an estimated 100,000 Americans (the majority are women) receive electroshock therapy for psychiatric illnesses, such as major depression, according to a recent New York Times article. More than 1,000 hospitals and clinics use electroshock therapy.
Patients, while under anesthesia, receive jolts of electricity from electrodes placed in strategie locations of their skull. The electrical jolts induce a brain seizure and convulsions that last up to a minute. The electrical current causes a grand mal seizure, and five to ten minutes later, the procedure is over and the patient goes home.
The American Psychiatric Association largely approves electroshock therapy and wants the Food and Drug Administration to downgrade the risk of such therapy to "high risk" to "medium". Such a downgrade would place electroschock therapy in the same risk category as syringes and surgical drills.
Is this good for patients? Not in my view. A federally financed study in 2007 found long-term memory loss and other cognitive problems from electroshock therapy at New York hospitals The experts in electroshock therapy still do not know how the treatment or brain seizures act to improve moods or depression. Some patients say that electroshock therapy causes brain damage and memory loss and that the treatment is experimental.
There is little queston that, after years of experimenting, electroschock therapy is still experimental. There have been no clinical studies showing the effectiveness of such therapy and doctors do not have a scientific explanation of how or why it works. That's not good enough for me.
Get all the facts before you consider electroshock therapy for a family member.