ECT: Safe and Effective for Agitation and Aggression in Cases of Dementia?

May 19, 2015

On March 25 of this year, Psychiatric Times published an article titled Dementia, Agitation, and Aggression: The Role of Electroconvulsive Therapy.  The author is Manjola Ujkaj, MD PhD, and the article’s subtitle is “What role might electroconvulsive therapy play for short-term treatment of agitation and aggression in patients with dementia?” According to their website Psychiatric […]

Read the rest →

ECT for Agitation and Aggression in Dementia

January 2, 2015

On May 16, 2014, the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published an article by Deepa Archarya, PhD, et al.  The article is titled Safety and utility of acute electroconvulsive therapy for agitation and aggression in dementia.  Here are the authors’ conclusions: “Electroconvulsive therapy may be a safe treatment option to reduce symptoms of agitation and […]

Read the rest →

A Macabre Celebration:  80 Years of Convulsive ‘Therapy’

October 9, 2014

There’s an interesting article in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of ECT.  It’s written by Max Fink, MD, and is titled Celebrating 80 Years of Inducing Brain Seizures as Psychiatric Treatment.  Dr. Fink is a psychiatrist and neurologist, and professor emeritus of psychiatry and neurology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. […]

Read the rest →

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

February 20, 2014

TMS is a psychiatric treatment that uses a rapidly alternating magnetic field to induce electric currents in the brain.  These currents stimulate neurons, causing them to “fire.” When used repetitively, TMS is said to alter the excitability of the brain area that has been stimulated.  In the psychiatric field, TMS is being used increasingly as […]

Read the rest →

Understanding Human Behavior

January 13, 2014

A couple of months ago I wrote an article concerning ECT which generated some controversy.  One of the issues that came up was the relationship between biological explanations of human activity and more global explanations, which, for want of a better term, I’ll call person-centered explanations. Any human activity can be viewed from different levels […]

Read the rest →

Is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Effective?

November 21, 2013

ECT, or shock treatment as it’s sometimes called, is a controversial topic.  Adherents describe it as safe and effective; opponents condemn its use as damaging and ineffective.  But it is still widely used in the US and in other countries. The treatment consists essentially of passing sufficient electricity across the brain to cause a seizure.  […]

Read the rest →

ECT And Adolescents At The Mayo Clinic

August 7, 2013

BACKGROUND At the APA annual convention in San Francisco in May of this year, Chad Puffer, DO, of the Mayo Clinic, presented a poster display titled ECT Use in Adolescents at the Mayo Clinic.  The poster was reported by Caroline Cassels of, a month later (ECT in Kids:  Safe, Effective, Robust and …Underutilized), and […]

Read the rest →

Involuntary Shock Treatment To Be Banned in Ireland

July 25, 2013

Courtesy of Talla Trialogue on Twitter, I recently read an article in on this topic. Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, has reportedly stated that “…the law will be changed so that unwilling patients will no longer be forced to receive ECT.” At present, if an individual […]

Read the rest →

Psychiatry Has the Moral High Ground (According to Jeffrey Lieberman)

July 2, 2013

BACKGROUND As I suppose everyone knows by now, psychiatry has been on the receiving end of some very serious criticism in recent years.  The criticism has come from many sources, including: survivors of psychiatric “treatment,” non-psychiatric mental health practitioners, journalists, the general public, and even from some psychiatrists themselves. The content of the criticisms has […]

Read the rest →

ECT – New and Improved?

May 10, 2013

I’ve just come across a strange article on Mad in America.  It’s called Researchers look at therapeutic benefits of ketamine.  You can see it here.  It doesn’t identify an author, but it’s from the University of Manchester. The opening paragraph says: “The largest trial into the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in the UK in […]

Read the rest →

Shock “Treatment” Is Not Safe and Provides Little If Any Benefit

March 27, 2013

DELICATE THINGS REQUIRE DELICATE HANDLING When I was a teenager, one of my hobbies was making small transistor radios.  It sounds complicated, but is well within the reach of an average 15-year-old.  You get some magazine articles, learn how to read a circuit, and learn how to use a soldering iron. A transistor is a […]

Read the rest →