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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Medical reason for torturing kids

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Question
Hallo,

I am not mentally ill but I would like to know your opinion.
Why do you claim ECT nowadays is safe and above all not painful If people can see
on following video that what is happening there is without doubt barbaric, disgusting, awful and terrified and had made me so against psychiatry.

Could you ,please, explain me how should I understand this before I lose all belief to this medical "science" ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcQwsq-PKCg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Thank you very much for answer.

Answer
Dear Lex,

Thank you for writing. I do want to let you know that I am not a physician but I know a lot about ECT and individuals who have received it.

I did view the youtube video you included in your message regarding the shocks and treatment due to acts of defiance. I do want to let you know this is NOT ECT treatment.

In the movie "One Flew Over the Cu-coo's Nest," an out-of-date representation of ECT is shown.
Today, ECT is elective (i.e. the patient/guardian) must choose to have this treatment. It is not used as a means of punishment. Why would someone voluntarily receive electric shock treatment? Individuals who are non-responsive to drug and psychological therapy and are extremely depressed/catatonic may choose this option because nothing else has worked.

How is the procedure conducted? Patients are not awake during the procedure. Here is an example of a common protocol: http://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/ect/guidelines.htm#section3

Small electrodes are placed (often at each of the temples) and the electric current very brief and specific. It isn't a general shock of the entire brain.

How do patients respond? I have seen with progressive treatments, a man go from a catatonic state to being able to carry out conversations and interact with his family. Some patients are anxious about the treatment and others get used to it. If they see benefits more than consequences, they may choose to continue. Usually a series of inpatient ECT treatments are given and maintenance are then established based on the individual's response. Some may not need continued treatment.

What is the most common side effect of ECT? The patient often does not remember events that happened hours before, during, and sometimes after the treatment. It does not affect long term memory or memories formed in the past.

I personally believe that ECT treatment is something that is a personal choice. There are no cut and dry answers. It is used when other treatments fail and often brings people's moods and life on track.

Does that help answer your question? I'd be happy to answer further questions. Remember two things about the video you watched: 1) it is not ECT treatment and 2) it is not a treatment that is at all typical in psychological wards. What happened is an abuse of the system, not something that people and professionals in the psychological community would approve of at all.

Thanks,

Jessica

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Jessica Chew

Expertise

I can answer questions related to bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and borderline personality disorder. I am not a doctor so I cannot prescribe drugs but I am familiar with drugs treating all of these conditions.

Experience

I have family members with these illnesses, have attended numerous support groups and talked intensively with therapists about these illnesses. I know first hand how they affect the person and family and work situations. & listening to clients and their experiences.

Organizations
NAMI, NAMIH

Education/Credentials
BA in molecular biology, with concentration in Neuroscience. Massage Therapy certification.

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