How has ECT electroshock therapy advanced since 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and how useful is it?

I'm 45 and while I've always lived life w big ups and downs, the ups made the downs worth it -- until about 3 years ago. At that point, due to a number of factors (see detail in the question about misdiagnosed Bipolars and use of Depacote) the ups stopped and I went down hard. Didn't want to get out of bed work, deal w people, etc.

My Dad is a Doc and saw how bad I was, even though I was on drug therapy - antidepressants.

He suggested electro and a hospital for me at one point, but luckily I switched medications and am now back to life!!

He explained that elctroshock therapy -- while still considered pretty radical -- is effective for severely clinically depressed people who just don't respond to any of the "happy" drugs.

I was ready to try anything at one point and from what I gather -- while they still don't know exactly how it works, I believe -- electroshock can be very effective as a last resort for those who are deeply depressed and dont respond to medications.. Hope this helps! Good Luck

Electro shock treatment is used less frequently as the other poster said and it is done in a much more humane way (sedation first, shock treatment second.) During the 20s, 30s, 40s, large amounts of insuline were given to induce shock in the body. It never worked!

The problem with Electro Shock Treatment is the fact it actually will erase part of the brain. Many doctors disbelieve this theory, but it's true. My brother-in-law is a completely different person since he had Electro Shock Thearpy and he is yet to be 100% and has lost some of his memory.

It is best to get all the info on Electro Shock Treatment before agreeing to any of it. Don't be afraid to ask questions.


I have paranoid schizophrenia and had 18 ect treatments. i had to look in my wallet to find out who i was. Definate loss of memory of childhood and adolescence as well as short term loss.

Anecdotal evidence cannot be trusted--get the facts on it by consulting several doctors and medical literature about the procedure.

There are different types of ECT. There is Unilateral and Bilateral types which have differing side effects. The most common for ECT being retrograde amnesia. It is usually performed as a medical procedure with an anesthetist and psychiatrist and a full resus team. the person is sedated (with a general anesthetic) and given a muscle relaxant. The whole procedure takes about 90 minutes. But is usually a whole morning.

In the 50's the ECT was called/ described as 'unmodified' ECT, unmodified in the sense that there was no modification, by the sedation and muscle relaxant, to the epileptic fit. There is no evidence that modifying the fit reduces the positive effect of the treatment.