Shock Therapy

Shock Therapy : A History of Electroconvulsive Treatment in Mental Illness

3.7 (24 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shock therapy is making a comeback today in the treatment of serious mental illness. Despite its re-emergence as a safe and effective psychiatric tool, however, it continues to be shrouded by a longstanding negative public image, not least due to films such as the classic One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, where the inmate of a psychiatric clinic (played by Jack Nicholson) is subjected to electroshock to curb his rebellious behaviour. Beyond its vilification in popular culture, the stereotype of convulsive therapy as a dangerous and inhumane practice is fuelled by professional posturing and public misinformation.

Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, has in the last thirty years been considered a method of last resort in the treatment of debilitating depression, suicidal ideation, and other forms of mental illness. Yet, ironically, its effectiveness in treating these patients would suggest it as a frontline therapy, bringing relief from acute symptoms and saving lives. In this book, Edward Shorter and David Healy trace the controversial history of ECT and other ""shock"" therapies. Drawing on case studies, public debates, extensive interviews, and archival research, the authors expose the myths about ECT that have proliferated over the years. By showing ECT's often life-saving results, Shorter and Healy endorse a point of view that is hotly contested in professional circles and in public debates, but for the nearly half of all clinically depressed patients who do not respond to drugs this book brings much needed hope.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 535.24g
  • New Brunswick, NJ, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 25 black & white illustrations
  • 081355425X
  • 9780813554259
  • 895,147

Review quote

"This book has groundbreaking potential, and its readability is strengthened by the use of many primary documents, including detailed journal entries and transcripts of interviews with the original scientists involved."--Library Journal "Shock Therapy is based on contemporary research that includes both manuscript and printed sources as well as interviews with individuals who have played key roles in the history of ECT. It is a controversial work, if only because its authors combine both historical analysis and advocacy. Nevertheless, the book--which includes discussions of such contemporary therapeutic innovations as VNS, DBS, and TMS--is a must-read and has relevance for those concerned with the treatment of mental disorders."--Gerald N. Grob "coauthor of The Dilemma of Federal Mental Health Policy: Radical Reform or Incr "
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About Edward Shorter

Edward Shorter is the Jason A. Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is the author of numerous books, including A History of Psychiatry and Written in the Flesh.

David Healy is a professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University, UK. Formerly, he was the secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the author of more than twelve books, including Let Them Eat Prozac.
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Rating details

24 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 46% (11)
4 17% (4)
3 12% (3)
2 12% (3)
1 12% (3)
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