Quote from MickeyTong
The word "barbaric" implies "insensitive, unnecessary brutality". Unfortunately, psychiatry has a history of "treatments" that were ...... less than humane and grotesquely inconsiderate. And we still, sometimes, actually inject people with powerful drugs which have unpleasant side effects against their expressed wishes.
Sorry to hear about your mother: I've no doubt her experience was horrific.
Progress has been made since the 1970s. ECT is now a treatment of last resort when a profound depression has failed to respond to antidepressant meds, or if the patient's mood needs to improve faster than than the meds will work.
Not only is there much more specificity in the indications for ECT than there used to be in the "bad old days" (when they basically shocked anyone for anything -- I had an aunt who was in and out of state hospitals in the '60s and '70s, who also had "old style" ECT in those days and talked with me about her experiences years later) but the amount of electricity has been decreased quite a bit over the years, and, as already noted, people are now anesthetized and paralyzed so there is almost no physical seizure activity, just the related electrical activity in the brain (which is the purposes of the treatment) and no awareness/memory of the actual procedure.
Everybody has seen the old movies set in psych hospitals that prominently feature ECT, but v. few people have any awareness of, let alone exposure to, modern ECT practice. I find that, when it comes up in conversation, most people are unaware that it's still being used and assume that it was banned long ago. It's v
. different than it used to be (and as portrayed in the movies), and I've personally seen it help (dramatically
) lots of people who weren't helped by anything else psychiatry had to offer, and who would have died (or ended up institutionalized in a near vegetative state) from their conditions if they hadn't gotten some relief.
ECT is a safe, effective treatment for some psychiatric conditions/disorders for which we don't have any other effective treatments, and I, personally, would be much more willing to have ECT (based on what I know and what I've seen over the years in psych nursing) than I would be to take a lot of the psych drugs
we give people ...