March 14, 2008, Newsletter Issue #174: Electroshock Therapy

Tip of the Week

If you've seen "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," you probably have a very negative view of electroshock therapy, and indeed this approach is still controversial.

However, in a much tamer form than that experienced by Jack Nicholson's character in the movie, electroshock therapy is making something of a comeback in the treatment of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Because these disorders often accompany or precede drug addiction, electroconvulsive therapy may be considered as a potential treatment for a recovering addict.

Those considering this form of therapy for themselves or a loved one should do their research on the track record and side effects, which can include loss of years of memory. Many patients also report that the effects are temporary and that their illnesses return within a few months to a couple of years.

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