The Truth About Electroconvulsive Therapy
By Stephen J. Seiner, MD | Huffington Post
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been around since the late 1930s, and it has been clear from the beginning that it is an effective treatment for patients with certain types of mental illness, including severe depression, severe mania, and catatonia.
Despite this potential to provide dramatic relief for patients, stigma surrounding the procedure—partially fostered by misleading portrayals of ECT in Hollywood productions as well as discouragement from other sources—has influenced many who might benefit greatly from ECT to shy away from getting the treatment. However, with the help of advocacy from prominent figures who have had profoundly positive experiences with ECT, such as Kitty Dukakis and Carrie Fisher, more and more people are choosing ECT.
As a practitioner and advocate of ECT myself, I believe that is important to spread the truth about ECT—including both its benefits and its risks. Below, I have addressed some of the most common questions I am asked about ECT.