Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A controversial treatment

ECT remains the most controversial treatment for psychiatric illness, although it has been used since the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the risks and side effects have been related to the misuse of equipment, incorrect administration, and improperly trained staff. There also is a misconception that ECT is used as a "quick fix" instead of long-term therapy or hospitalization. Unfavorable news reports and media coverage have added to the controversy of this treatment. In fact, ECT is safe and among the most effective treatments available for depression.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/13/2014.

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