Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), despite its controversial history, may well represent the only viable treatment for severe psychiatric illness in those for whom medication is not an option. In Electronconvulsive Therapy, Dr. Max Fink draws on over 50 years of clinical experience to describe this safe, painless, and often life-saving treatment. Extensively revised and restructured since its original publication a decade ago, the book provides readers with a detailed explanation of the ECT procedure, helping them to better understand and prepare for treatment. Discussions of the mechanisms of actions have been updated and sections have been added on the use of ECT in pediatric populations and to treat movement disorders such as Parkinsons. Case studies of ECT patients illustrate its often dramatic success in relieving depression, mania, catatonia, and psychosis. Clarifying the many misconceptions surrounding the treatment, Dr. Fink reveals how anesthesia and muscle relaxation techniques reduce discomfort and risks to levels lower than those associated with psychiatric drugs.
He then provides a historical perspective of the treatment, from the discovery of ECT and its widespread use beginning in the 1930s, to the 1950s when it was replaced by psychotropic drugs, to its revival in the last 30 years as a viable psychiatric treatment. Dr. Fink concludes with a straightforward discussion of the ethical issues surrounding ECT use, and on its similarities to and differences from other modern brain stimulation techniques. The classic text on the subject, written by a renowned researcher and physician, Electroconvulsive Therapy is an excellent resource for patients, their families, and mental health professionals.