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5) Biological Treatments – ECT

Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is the usage of electrodes to pass electricity through the brain. The aim of this treatment is too create a small seizure, which hopes to shock the part of the brain which is malfunctioning, fixing it so it works correctly. A patient will normally have between 3 and 15 treatment

We are unsure of how ECT works, however there have been many cases where it has been helpful.

The procedure of ECT has come a long way since its birth, for example, now a barbiturate is administered so the patient is unconscious, also muscle relaxants are administered to prevent muscle spasms.

Evaluation of ECT

+ In some cases ECT can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia; this is obviously a great strength of the therapy.

However, there are also many weaknesses, for example:

Sarita et al found no difference in symptom reduction between 36 schizophrenia patients given either ECT or simulated ECT.

­- This raises the question of whether ECT is just a placebo or not. Many psychologists believe that the improvement some patients feel could just be because they expect to feel better from the treatment.

ECT is, by its nature, a dangerous procedure. Although it has been improved massively, it can still cause worrying complications. A patient could be at risk of memory loss, brain damage and even death.


About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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