ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy), formerly known as “shock treatment”, has a fearsome reputation. Many recall the dramatic scene from the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest where patient McMurphy winds up stupefied and dull after being forcibly administered ECT.
While in earlier decades ECT may have had its dramatic–and perhaps overdramatized–effects, today ECT is much more safe and effective. For patients with treatment-resistant depression, ECT is a viable treatment option—one that should no longer be relegated to the option of last resort. As reported in Psychiatric Times, Modern ECT is a “remarkably safe, effective, and well-tolerated treatment”, according to Charles Kellner, MD, who discusses the state-of-the-art of this mode of therapy in the video below.
ECT can be particularly effective for geriatric depressed patients, many of whom do not tolerate or respond well to antidepressants. Dr. Kellner is Professor of Psychiatry and Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Director of the ECT Service of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
ECT may not be for everyone, but it is a therapy that is worthy of a family’s consideration for loved ones who have found other therapies ineffective.