Is shock therapy a usable treatment again?

The controversial shock therapy treatment may become popular again.

Shock therapy or more scientifically known as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Psychiatrists don’t like the term “shock therapy” because othe stigma surrounding it, which they say prevents the large majority of severely depressed patients from even trying it.

It might be surprising to learn that despite its misuse in the past, ECT is now considered one of the most effective treatments for people who haven’t been helped by antidepressant medication. In just the U.S., there’s more than 5  million Americans suffering from depression so crippling that it leads many people to kill themselvesy

Dr. Sarah Lisanby says that “One of my patients explained it to me saying that: “It’s not that I want to die. It’s that living is too painful.”

Dr. Sarah Lisanby works at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, and is developing new ways to help the more than 35 percent of depressed patients who don’t get better with medication.

Dr. Sarah Lisanby added: “Imagine feeling severely depressed, and then you try medication after medication, and those treatments, even though you’re doing everything the doctor told you, the treatments are failing you. It’s not uncommon for someone to have tried 20 or 30 different medications by the time that they come to see me.”

A big issue facing doctors is indeed the stigma surrounding this controversial treatment. It has been suggested by doctors that popularizing a different name would help convince more patients to try this technique. It’s unknown exactly what will happen going forward, but it‘s an interesting topic to follow.



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