The idea of “shock therapy” is scary to many people. It has previously been used to relieve symptoms of depression, but most people think of the idea of sending electric current through the body as too dangerous and frightening to even consider. However, an increasing number of doctors is saying that it is an effective treatment and a lot safer than most people would believe.
The procedure is now referred to as electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, and it is much more gentle and humane than traditional portrayals of shock therapy would have people believe. The procedure was first administered in the 1940s and was much more primitive than it is today. It was done without anesthesia, and the currents that were used were often so potent that they caused seizures that sometimes led to broken bones. Slideshare.net and Madison Street Capital believe this may be responsible for some continued negative connotations that are associated with this procedure. However, today, the procedure utilizes controlled electric currents that are sent through the brain, and general anesthesia is used. The seizures that are caused by this procedure typically lasts for under a minute, and the patient does not feel pain, although side effects, such as upset stomach, memory loss, headaches, and muscle aches are possible.
In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the majority of private insurers would be willing to cover ECT and other treatments related to mental health.