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Analysis of the Electroconvulsive Treatment (ECT) (Essay Sample)


Response to the following question:
Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) looked to be disappearing from the toolkit of psychiatry in the 1960s and 1970s, only to experience a resurgence towards the end of the 20th century and early 21st century. How can we best explain this renewed use, especially with so many less controversial treatments available?


Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)
Student’s Name
Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)
The treatment of psychological disorders has undergone a significant revolution over the years, with more advanced management approaches. Approaches that are considered ineffective in attaining the desired patient outcomes have often been rendered obsolete, and their use dis. However, the application of the electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) approach remains unique based on the variations of perceptions regarding its use in the management of mental illnesses over the years. Particularly, the approach, which was popular in the 1960s, experienced a decline in applications. However, towards the end of the 20th Century and a better part of the 21st Century so far, there has been a surge in its application in managing different mental conditions. This is despite more advanced and effective treatment options being available. The paper attempts to contextualize and rationalize the motivations for the increasing popularity of ECT in the management of mental conditions in the contemporary world.
In understanding the popularity, the decline in usage and the resurgence of the use of ECT in the management of mental illnesses, there is a need to comprehend the mechanisms involved and the implications on the patients. A type of somatic therapy, ECT, involves the passage of electric current through the brain to cause a temporary seizure (Christopher, 2003). The conduct of the procedures requires that patients be put under general anesthesia. For the period it was in use, ECT was effective in treating an array of mental conditions based on the effects of the passage of the current through the brain. According to Bow (2018), the use of the method in managing mental illnesses remained controversial, and in many cases, it received unfavorable reviews by professionals in health care. In an expression of the dissatisfaction with the ECT, the Royal College of Psychiatrists posit that the efficacy of ECT in alleviating the symptoms of mental health conditions is not related to its fit, but other things, including support, extra attention, and anesthetic provided to the patients.
In the face of controversies, the usage of the ECT rose, as it assisted in the alleviation of symptoms of psychiatric disorders. However, a significant issue that confounded and contributed to its decline in the 1960s was the safety issues. The first cohort of patients to undergo treatment through the ECT were affected with multiple safety issues, including spine fractures and dislocation of joints resulting from the violent convulsions that accompany the application of ECT (Puvanenthirarajah & Ali, 2017). The convulsions are associated with additional medical issues leading to a compromise in the attainment of the desired patients’ outcomes. The use of the ECT in treating mental illnesses was also associated with ethical issues based on the lack of a regulatory framework to guide its applications (Puvanenthirarajah & Ali, 2017). Therefore, the use of ECT was prone to inappropriate use in the management of mental illnesses.
Other issues surrounding ECT use that contributed to a decline in its usage include therapy that is not based on indication, technical inconsistencies, and inadequate adjuvant therapy contributed to the problematic nature of the procedure in the management of symptoms associated with the mental illnesses. However, significant milestones were attained in addressing the safety issues with different medications. The greatest issue that contributed to the decline of ECT use relates to the bad reputation among the public (Puvanenthirarajah & Ali, 2017). As noted by Christopher (2003), the decline in ECT use was shaped by the media coverage of the procedure and backlash by the general populace. The issue surrounding its usage rendered the procedure obsolete leading to a drastic decline in its application in the management of mental health disorders (Euba, Zallo, & Torreblanca, 2011). The comprehension of the issues surrounding the decline of the use of ECG provides a starting point for exploring some of the factors that motivate its resurgence in the management of psychiatric disorders.
As apparent, there has been a surge in the use of ECG in recent times despite the controversies surrounding its use in the management of psychiatric conditions. The use of ECT has been slowly gaining momentum since the late 20th Century based on new evidence on its efficacy in the management of mental illnesses. A leading factor that accounts for the increased application of the ECG is the emergence of empirical evidence on its benefits in managing the disorders (Puvanenthirarajah & Ali, 2017). Additionally, for some patients, pharmaceutical agents have not been effective in managing. Some disorders are particularly resistant to pharmacotherapeutic agents, which makes it necessary for care to explore other options that may aid the alleviation of symptoms of psychiatric disorders. The resurgence of the intervention, therefore, is attributable to the available empirical evidence on its efficacy. Initially, there were controversies on the efficacy of the intervention due to a lack of empirical evidence as reported by different psychiatric organizations in the west, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists (Bow et al., 2018). The availability of empirical evidence constitutes one of the leading reasons for adopting certain interventions in the health care sector. The lack of evidence, in many cases, does not provide an adequate reason for the adoption of an intervention.
The resurgence of ECT use in psychiatry is also attributable to the resistance of some mental health conditions to specific pharmacotherapeutic agents. The use of ECT is today considered a standard practice in managing the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression (Kellner et al., 2012; Li et al., 2020). While issues are surrounding the implications of cognitive performance and informed consent outside psychiatric practice, the resurgence of the use of the procedure is supported by its efficacy in addressing the symptoms of different conditions is preferred as a secondary treatment in cases where the pharmacotherapy has failed in the realization of the desired effects in affected patients. Some areas where the use of ECT has experienced a surge in the recent past include treatment-resistant depression (TRD), bipolar disorder, and catatonia, especially in cases where the use of other agents has not assisted in the realization of the desired effects. In this context, the motivation for the resurgence of ECT in psychiatry across the globe is attributable to the lack of effectiveness in pharmacotherapy. The procedure is considered a last resort option to alleviate the symptoms of the conditions, mainly where the perceived benefits have been evaluated and determined to outweigh the risks on the patients. The failure of the other treatment approaches compelled practitioners to reconsider the once obsolete ECT in addressing some conditions.
ECT is also considered helpful in the acute management of clinical situatio

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