Are Electro-Convulsion Treatments Harmful?

Essay by FlowrsistaHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2003

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First of all, what are electro-convulsion treatments? It's believed that it works by causing a seizure with an electrical shock. This seizure releases many chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which deliver messages from one brain cell to another. It is believed that this jarring of brain cells stimulates them and makes them work better. It is for people who have the following conditions: severe depression with insomnia, weight change, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, and thoughts of suicide or homicide; severe depression that does not respond to antidepressants or patients who can't take antidepressants; and severe mania that does not respond to medicines. My opinion on this is that it is very harmful to a person's brain.

From the 1996 study of ECT and patient perceptions, they concluded that literature concerning the effects of ECT, including possible brain damage, is biased in favor of ECT. Although, there have been findings of misinformation that has surfaced as well.

Misinformation from manufacturers and the American Psychiatric Association, which have in turn established many myths about ECT as well. They say that brain damage is now outdated because of "new refinements" in their machines. Charles Kellner of the Medical University of South Carolina, who regularly administers electric shock stated: "Well, it's such a different treatment now that there's almost no comparison...It really is a different treatment now...Having the seizure is the therapeutic part of ECT; probably about one fifth of the electricity that was used in the old days..." Such claims are false or misleading: the new BP devices are neither lower stimulus nor lower current devices than the older, or even the newer models.

Moreover, in the 1996 study, they sent out surveys for the people who had ECT done to them. Among all respondents, 70% felt it...