The Electroshock Quotationary

Frank, Leonard Roy
July 2006
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;Summer2006, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p157
Academic Journal
Since its introduction in 1938, electroshock has been the subject of intense controversy; there appears to be little if any middle ground between the positions taken by its proponents and opponents. The author/editor, himself an insulin coma-electroshock survivor, has for more than 30 years actively opposed any use of electroshock on the grounds that the procedure is inherently destructive and dehumanizing. The Introduction briefly describes the nature of the controversy, provides background information, lists the diagnoses for which ECT is (or has been) used and its effects, describes the method of administration, offers some answers to the question of why it seems to "work" in certain instances, lists some of the well-known individuals who have undergone the procedure, and closes with a short overview of the current situation. The text presents a historical perspective on ECT in the form of 78 chronologically arranged excerpts from professional and lay writings. Included are descriptions by survivors of their experience with ECT and how it affected their lives, as well as reports and claims regarding clinical and nonclinical uses of ECT, its effectiveness and ineffectiveness, and its safety and danger (especially brain damage, memory loss, learning disability, and death).


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