skip to content  >  Psychology Guide  >  Therapies  >  Shock Treatment

    Shock Treatment

Shock treatment is a type of therapy for patients with serious mental illnesses. Shock treatment makes the patient temporarily unconscious. Doctors use it alone or along with psychotherapy. 

The first widely used forms of shock treatment were insulin shock therapy and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Both forms were used for treating severe mental illnesses during the 1930's and 1940's. Since 1950, doctors have used ECT almost exclusively. 

When doctors first used insulin to produce unconsciousness, they hoped it would cure schizophrenia. But the treatment helped only in some cases, and it often produced only temporary improvement. For these reasons, and because it is difficult to administer the treatment safely, it is not often used today. 

Electroconvulsive therapy was introduced a few years after insulin treatment. ECT produces convulsions, or seizures, in a patient. The simplest and most common method of administering ECT consists of passing an electric current through the patient's brain for a fraction of a second. 

Although ECT is simple to administer, it must be adjusted to each individual case. The number of treatments varies, but most patients receive about three a week, with a total of 6 to 10 treatments over a two- to three-week period. Doctors determine the amount and the duration of the electric shock by monitoring the patient's brain waves to be sure that a seizure is produced. Pretreatment medications and general anaesthesia are usually given so that the patient experiences no discomfort and neither feels the electric current nor consciously experiences the seizure. 

The most important use of ECT is to treat hospitalized patients who remain severely depressed and suicidal in spite of drug treatment and psychotherapy. ECT frequently restores these depressed patients to a normal mental state. The reasons it does so are unknown. 

ECT is controversial because it has sometimes been used as a punishment to control violent or uncooperative psychiatric patients. In addition, ECT often causes temporary amnesia, and some doctors claim that it also produces long-term memory loss.


Bookmark this page

  • Bookmark to: Mr. Wong Bookmark to: Oneview Bookmark to: Linkarena Bookmark to: Folkd Bookmark to: Digg Bookmark to: Bookmark to: Facebook Bookmark to: Reddit Bookmark to: Jumptags Bookmark to: Simpy Bookmark to: StumbleUpon Bookmark to: Slashdot Bookmark to: Propeller Bookmark to: Furl Bookmark to: Yahoo Bookmark to: Spurl Bookmark to: Google Bookmark to: Blinklist Bookmark to: Blogmarks Bookmark to: Diigo Bookmark to: Technorati Bookmark to: Newsvine Bookmark to: Blinkbits Bookmark to: Ma.Gnolia Bookmark to: Smarking Bookmark to: Netvouz


Share |