Media stories about ECT

Mixed response for ECT guidance
Mental health campaigners have welcomed provisional suggestions from government advisors on the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), but say further changes are needed to strengthen patient rights. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published its final appraisal document on the use of ECT, which says doctors can use the treatment on individuals with severe depressive illness, catatonia or a prolonged severe manic episode.

Shock therapy becomes popular again
Hear the words shock therapy and you might think of Hollywood movies depicting barbaric treatment of patients trapped in asylums. But shock therapy has come a long way. And now as physicians look for more aggressive ways to help patients with a persistent mental illness, a growing number are returning to this controversial therapy.

Debate rages over safety of ECT
Marianne Ueberschar checked herself in to the city's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health two years ago suffering from suicidal depression. Like many older women entering psychiatric wards in Canada, Ueberschar, now 69, was offered electroconvulsive shock therapy, or ECT. She refused, and fought a legal battle with the institution to prevent it from administering the treatment.

Jury still out
Ever since Jack Nicholson won an Academy Award playing Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, electroshock therapy has had a bad name. While the practice no doubt has seen its better days, the myths surrounding the practice have so prejudiced the general public's opinion that the reality of this practice has been shrouded in fear and mystery.

Jolt to the brain
The image isn't easily eradicated from memory -- malcontent Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) writhing in agony while undergoing shock treatment in 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Yet shock treatment -- or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), as its practitioners dub it -- isn't barbaric, as that classic movie moment might have us believe." From The Washington Times.

Into the Darkness Into the Light
Local patients report radically different effects from electroshock therapy. An extensive article from Newsday.

From the Sunday Times of London
Some countries refuse to use it. Scientists have little idea how it works, and precious few doctors have been properly trained to administer it. But in contrast with much of the rest of Europe, patients in Britain are routinely sedated and shot through with electricity, in an attempt to fix their troubled minds. The horror stories surrounding electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) abound. This is the poet Sylvia Plath's grimly eloquent account from her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar: ''Don't worry,' the nurse grinned down at me. 'Their first time, everybody's scared to death.' 'I tried to smile, but my skin had gone stiff, like parchment. Doctor Gordon was fitting two metal plates on either side of my head. He buckled them into place with a strap that dented my forehead, and gave me a wire to bite.

The Trouble With Spikol
Philadelphia columnist Liz Spikol has written a series of smashing columns. The four-part series is called "The Shocking Truth" and should not be missed.
Fortunately, Liz isn't speechless

USA Today Series on ECT
This informative series, from December 1995, was the result of four months of investigation into ECT. It's an excellent look into not only the medical viewpoint, but the politics surrounding the procedure.

Shock Therapy - It's Back
From the Washington Post, a hard-hitting article on electroshock. This article, by Sandra Boodman, attacks the issues head on. A must read! And follow-up letters!

Lasting Effects of ECT
A four-part series from Ontario on the lingering effects of ECT.

From the Riverfront Times
An interesting article on ECT, memory loss and politics from this St. Louis paper.

Eye Magazine in Canada has written an excellent piece on the issue of ECT. Nice job, Tom Lyons! Shocking Treatment...

More media stories on ECT
Newsday
Researcher promotes benefits of electroshock treatments

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Electroshock therapy revised Although tamed down from its days in the 1940s, the practice of using electricity to treat psychological disorders still has its critics.

Newsday:
Called `barbaric' by some, a `miracle' cure by others, it is being used more and more to treat depression

Associated Press:
Despite Infamy, Shock Therapy Makes a Comeback

Tampa Tribune:
Shock therapy debate revived

US News & World Report:
Taking the shock out of electroshock


Return of electrical monster
This article looks at the negative effects of ECT.


Trust Me, I'm a Doctor
From the BBC Series: Nowadays it has been refined and improved. This is all very well - but a report recently published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists reveals that ECT clinics in England and Wales are operating at very low standards. Training of Junior Doctors is poor; machinery is often out-of-date; and senior or well-trained doctors are often absent from the treatment room. This suggests that doctors are not doing themselves any favours if they want ECT to shed its historical barbaric image.

Death in Australia
Shock treatment may have contributed to the sudden death of a psychiatric patient at Graylands Hospital.