Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy Increases in Texas
Fallen out of favor in medical use, the use of once-called "Electroshock Therapy" has seen a rise lately in Texas.
According to reports by the state health department, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) use has risen 67% since 2001, being used on over 2,000 patients between September 2012 and August 2013, not including use in military and veterans' hospitals. Used as a treatment for various things including severe depression, studies report a success rate of 64% to 87% in patients with severe depression. Psychiatrist Ahmad Raza of Dallas has touted the use of ECT, calling it effective,
ECT works in very severe or profound depression. I don't think there's any question about that.
However, opponents of ECT call the procedure devastating to the human brain, saying it causes serious brain damage and long-term memory loss. Once considered inhumane, ECT received a bad public image after the film 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' where Jack Nicholson's character is tortured with ECT in a very disturbing scene. In current treatments, electrodes are attached to the head of the anesthetized patient and a burst of electricity passes through the brain for less than eight seconds. The electricity causes an epileptic seizure that lasts around a minute.
Abuse of ECT was regular during its early days, being used on children to stop tantrums and punish disruptive patients, like in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. There were also cases where it was performed on elderly patients just in order to make money by charging for the procedure.
The effectiveness of the procedure is documented by the FDA, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association. It is even covered by Medicare and many insurance plans.