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.