In this episode of the podcast, Michael Drane, our resident psycho-therapist is joined once again, by fellow clinician, Justin Krause, to discuss Electro-Shock Therapy. A listener on Twitter wrote in to the show and asked about Electro-shock being a treatment for depression. Michael and Justin also get into some other ridiculous cures over the years like lobotomies. We hope you enjoy the show!
"Hello, you said that Electro-Convulsion Treatment (ECT) is a "throw-back" and ECT feels like it would be horrible. Wouldn't most people rather be depressed than be physically shocked?!"
Michael and Justin talk about how horrifying the process looks. To most people, electro-shock therapy seems undesirable... medieval to say the least. But Michael says it does do wonders for depression. Think of cancer and chemotherapy. Nobody wants to go through chemotherapy, but they'd rather not have cancer, so usually, with these things, you end up fighting fire with fire or choosing the lesser of two evils. In some cases, where patients (like the ones that Michael and Justin see everyday) are a major harm to themselves because they are clinically suicidal. In these cases, it seems as though, electro-shock therapy would be desirable to almost dying every day.
A downside to ECT is memory-loss. Impairment of the variety of learning or as Justin would say, Duller or Dumber. Would you rather a shorter, cognitive healthy life, and happy? Or longer having cognitive ability, but being depressed?
Electro-Shock Therapy (ECT) is notably successful, because of the risk to benefit ratio. You really have to weight the pros and cons of a current state. You have to choose between killing yourself and whatever long-term damage this procedure would do.
Justin thinks that like in Good Will Hunting, you have to find the person and purpose to put the wind in your sails. He believes everyone can find a way to happiness without reverting to drastic desicions like this. Michael agrees that he would never push this as a last resort. He thinks ECT is necessary only for people who are clinically suicidal.
Funfact: Carrie Fisher was a huge proponent of Electro-Shock Therapy.
At one point, ECT was used to "cure" homosexuality. There have been so many throughout history that are just insane non-cures that did irreperable damage.
Insulin Coma Therapy. Induce coma by injecting you with too much insulin. Most people would wake up and feel their feelings diminish. The trade-off of course is that a percentage of them died, so.
Trepanation: In ancient times, They burrow a hole into your skull to let evil spirits out. They thought if you were crazy, that there were literally demons flying around in your head. Amazingly enough, it's still practiced here in the U.S. to "release pressure on the brain" and they cut out a little square. Michael says it remind him of the top of a baby's head being so vulnerable.
Hydro-Therapy: For mental illness, they would wrap you in towels and put you in an ice bath, or put you in a crucifixion position and use a high-pressure hose one you.
Magnetic Pull. Frank Mezmer is known as the father of hypno-therapy. One of his theories is that the cause of mental disturbance was the moons gravitational pull affects the water in the brain. His evidence for this is that the ocean and the tide is so affected by the moon. Which is not entirely irrational. His treatment for this is to offset the magical pull of the moon on your brain using magnets.
Malaria Therapy. They would inject you with Malaria in order to counter-act Syphillis. The two diseases sort-of killed each other off, leaving many people left even more healthy.
Chemically Induced Seizures. They've found that people with epilepsy after a seizure will report feeling their depression decrease and feeling happier
Hysteria Therapy. Hypocrates is known as the Father of Modern Medicine. He had this theory, that any female patient who had any issue at all from fatigue to nausea, was diagnosed as hysteria. No matter what. He said this was due to a "wandering womb" and Plato believed that the only way to cure this was to get married and have babies. So basically his cure for everything was to have a baby. Seriously. Bonkers.
Lobotomy. Walter Friedman sort-of pioneered the Lobotomy, in-fact nicknamed the Henry Ford of the lobotomy. He would go door-to-door offering this procedure, where he would take an ice-pick and push it back into a person's brain by lifting up their eyelid, he would scramble the frontal lobe of the person and knock the ice-pick all the way back and moved it back and forth like a windshield wiper. He was the first to mass-produce this, performing up to 60 lobotomies a day. He eventually won a Nobel prize for Lobotomies in the 1940's. He was unique because he performed these lobotomies in an archaic, sloppy way. Eventually, his sloppiness got the better of him and several of his patients died. One patient died while he was performing the lobotomy because he took a picture and his hand slipped. Soon after he lost his license. By his standards, it worked. Yes, this person is not beating his head against the wall anymore, but he's also not really himself anymore.
Justin is, like me, absolutely horrified. I'll leave you with that. Goodnight, stalkers.
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