Electroconvulsive or shock therapy for most of us is something that is part of a horror movie where a person’s brain is being altered for evil purposes. It is also a reminder of the bleak days when mental illness was a sentence to a sad and worthless life and even death.
Few of us would believe that electroconvulsive therapy is a viable modern treatment; most of us would be wrong.
I used to think that electroconvulsive or shock treatment was the final treatment option when all other methodologies had failed.
Other treatment options would include medications, counseling and exercise. The medications would be used for a long period of time and would run the gamut from mild to severe.
When the future was bleak then electroconvulsive treatment would be used and the results would be “iffy.”
I was wrong. Electroconvulsive treatment is making a comeback and is even becoming a favorite of some psychiatrists.
Why is electroconvulsive shock therapy making a comeback?
When you have a question for a psychiatrist, go to a psychiatrist. That is what I did. I went to my psychiatrist.
I have manic depression. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I initially had a severe depressive episode. This warranted a lot of medication and did very little good. That is the situation that psychiatrists find themselves. They continue to pump heavy-duty medication down their patients’ throats only to see no improvement. In the meantime the kidneys of their patients are taking a beating.
That is bad enough. However as my psychiatrist told me there are many people that will never respond to medication. It may simply be that their condition is too severe.
My psychiatrist said that some people are simply “right” for electroshock therapy.
What is electroshock therapy?
Electroshock therapy consists of passing a current of electricity through the brain for a period of 30 seconds to two minutes. This creates a seizure. The net effect is that it “straightens the brain out.” There are several additional procedures done such as blood tests.
In discussing the procedure with doctors you might think of it this way. If a person is completely out of control and someone smacks them it clarifies their thinking and gives them some peace, a “start” so to speak.
People are given muscle relaxants as well as general anesthesia in order to help them through the procedure.
Electroconvulsive therapy was initiated about 70 years ago in Europe. It is hard to believe that it is making a comeback and yet is it really that hard to believe?
After all, the problem that exists is with the movement of impulses in the brain and it really shouldn’t be that hard to believe that “shocking” those impulses would help.