Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Electroconvulsive therapy, an effective treatment for depression, mania and some forms of schizophrenia, has had a tumultuous and controversial history. The dramatic nature of the therapy as well as its use in the mentally ill in a seemingly indiscriminate manner has historically captured the public's attention and concern. The evolution of this therapy and the public and psychiatric profession's responses to it are reviewed here. Often the public's understanding of the therapy, how it is administered, its applications and side effects have lagged behind how the psychiatric profession views ECT, although at times mental health professionals have remained opposed to the therapy despite current research finding. At present, ECT appears to be experiencing a resurgence, with little active opposition.

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