Ms. Gumina and Ms. Tabata
In the past, Electroconvulsive Therapy received a dangerous and inhumane reputation but in reality, the treatment came a long way since it’s been depicted to society as such. I think that the reason the therapy treatment has such a bad connotation to it is because of the poor portrayals in Hollywood movies and Television. It was written in the Psychiatric Times that “in a survey of lay attitudes toward convulsive therapy, the majority of respondents who had seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest were "put off ECT" by the film (O'Shea and McGennis, 1983). This bad reputation was due to early statistics and results of “Electroshock Therapy” when it first came out in the 1930’s. The early patients regularly suffered from broken bones, severe memory loss, and related injuries due to the fact that muscle relaxants were not available at the time to control the violent convulsions and it hadn’t yet been perfected to understand the electric currents were too high (Kerr, 2012). Because of these negative views of ECT it has conjured up much controversy and brought to the surface the question whether or not it should be banned in the U.S. I think that with more education about ECT’s process, side effects, risks, and benefits the treatment would become far more accepted and could benefit the greater good more than it currently is. In my opinion, I don’t believe that ECT should be banned in the US because it has the potential to make a difference if people were more knowledgeable about the subject at hand.
Electroconvulsive therapy is a procedure where electric currents are passed through the brain in order to intentionally trigger a minor seizure. The procedure is administered to help treat chronic mental disorders. According to Mental Disability Law Reporter, it is more often used as “a treatment of last resort” for Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, and Chronic Depression Disorder (1983).
The procedure of ECT itself is not very long, only lasting around 5-10 minutes in total. However, preparation and recovery adds to the time. Preparation for the treatment is what is thorough and extensive and what has made the procedure much safer than back in the 20th centaury. In order for ECT to be administered to a patient a doctor needs to check the medical history for hereditary heart problems, a complete physical exam, psychiatric assessment, and blood tests and electrocardiogram (ECG) to further check the health of the heart. Also, for the procedure because anesthesia will be used, the patients are not able to eat 12 hours before. An IV line is inserted to continually administer muscle relaxants throughout the procedure. A mouth guard is used to prevent the patient biting off their tongue. Depending on the type of ECT that is given the nurse will place two electrode pads about the size of the silver dollar, on either side of your head affecting the entire brain or on the top of your head and right temple focusing on the right side of the brain in bilateral ECT and unilateral ECT respectively (Kerr 2012).
A person who that plans to undergo ECT should understand what is going on in their body during the treatment. Because of the anesthesia the muscles are relaxed and when the electric current is conducted from the electrodes, it passes through the brain it produces a seizure that is normally not longer than 60 seconds. Because the brain is not ready for the shock, it is far more affective in the treatment therefore it will need fewer volts to increase the activity in the brain. A test called Electroencephalogram (EEG) records the electric activity in the brain. The brain controls how the body moves by sending out small electrical signals through the nerves to the muscles. When the extra electric currents are sent through, it begins a convulsion because these occur from abnormal signals from the brain change the way the body functions. The heart rate and blood pressure