Our expert says:
I haven't found a good web source on this, and you wouldn't want ( nor likely find ) some of the huge, heavy textbooks that have been written about it. And on the web, there's probably a predominance of rather unbalanced and highly negative sites spurred on by Scientology and other hardly balanced or objective sources.
I don't, and haven't, used ECT ( Shock Therapy), and it has faded from wide use in most major countries. For reasons which puzzle me, it has remained very popular with some psychiatrists and clinics in SA. I would generally prefer to rely on modern antidepressant drugs and CBT psychotherapy.
ECT was an early treatment for severe depression whcih research studies of the day showed to be effective in relieving depression. In involved nowadays, a person receiving a short general anaesthetic ( it should never be given without an anaesthetic ) and a muscle relaxant drug, a person is given a controlled electrical shock to specific parts of the head, which is believed, in a manner not altogether understood, to help to correct chemical imbalances within the brain. The procedure is very brief. Most people experience some disturbance of short-term memory ( for recent events, like what you had for breakfast ) afterwards, which should clear up. Some people complain of more severe disturbance of memory, especially after longer courses or more frequent treatments. Generally it would be given 2 to 3 times a week for a total of maybe 10 or 12 reatments within a single course of treatment. People who support the treatment say it provides quicker, earlier relief of severe depression and had few lasting unpleasant effects. Opponents would say it's not as effective as claimed, and that it can have severe and lasting ill-effects, especially on memory.
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