A Guarded Endorsement for Shock Therapy
Science. 1985 Jun 28; 228(4707): 1510-1511.
An increase in the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) after years of disfavor has led to calls for more research on all aspects of this controversial treatment. A recent consensus conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health produced cautious approval of ECT to treat severe depression. After reviewing existing research data and listening to testimony on ECT's effects, especially effects on memory, the panel recommended that immediate research be done on methods and effects of ECT, that ECT training be included in medical and psychiatric education, and that more attention be paid to review and regulatory mechanisms. Holden speculates that the persistent and fierce opposition to ECT reflects the schism within psychiatry between biological and psychodynamic treatment approaches, as well as the impact of public information gained largely from overly harrowing portrayals of ECT. (KIE abstract)
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