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luigirovatti's avatar

(Not for the faint of heart) Does this description give a historically correct treatment of psychiatric patients with electric current?

Asked by luigirovatti (1828points) 1 month ago

The “mouth guard” stopped the patient smashing his teeth, biting his tongue off. In this example, the current lasts about five seconds. They’ll have administered a paralytic agent, but they put a tourniquet on the ankle, to make sure he’s having a seizure.

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20 Answers

josie's avatar

Not sure what has ever really worked in treating serious psychosis, and all the treatments sort of suck. But your description is certainly an argument for drugging them into submission.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Worked in a psychiatric hospital in in the 1960’s that used Doctor José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado. Don’t remember the ankle tourniquet. Twenty times (or more) I took a patient up for Electro-convulsive Therapy. It worked on several depressed psychotic patients, But not all.

@josie you can drug them into a “plant” but that isn’t beneficial to the patient or anyone else

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t remember hearing about the ankle either, but the rest sounds right. They still do ECT, I think it is done better now, I am not sure what the difference is. Maybe they use less shock or different drugs. It’s very effective for some people. One side effect people find troublesome is memory loss, although I think the memory loss is probably part of why it works. We give forget drugs to treat or stave off PTSD.

Jeruba's avatar

Likewise not for the faint of heart: He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him. The book is flawed, no doubt about that, but it does depict vividly and chillingly the frequently barbaric experience of mental health treatment as recently as the 1940s in the U.S.

anniereborn's avatar

@JLeslie What are “forget drugs” ? I have PTSD and have no idea what you are talking about.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I had an aunt who was rendered retarded after she fell 20 feet off a rocky cliff when she was just 2.
God they did the most inhumane thinga to her as she was growing up trying to “fix” the brain damage.
This was the 40s and the doctors gave Gramna and Grampa a metal “necklace” with a sharp spiked ball on it to discourage her from hanging her head down.
In the 60s they gave her a lobotomy.
Just…barbaric.

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raum's avatar

There have been many different ways of using electroshock therapy.

Lovaas, the grandfather of ABA, used to put autistic children in shock rooms where the floors were laced with metal strips. And electrodes strapped onto the children’s bare backs.

JLeslie's avatar

@anniereborn Over the last 15 years or so there is a belief that disrupting the memory of a traumatic event is better than having the person talk about details and remember over and over again. The more we relive it, the more it etches into our memory. It’s a difficult balance, because there is also a consensus regarding the need to process bad events through talking about them, but the newer feeling is to discourage talking about it in fine detail.

From what I understand most of the work is for immediately after the event. There are drugs that they have used to disrupt memory, usually given right after traumatic events, but there has been research regarding replacing memories well after. I have no idea if any of the drugs are officially approved for that use. Replacing memory might be an inaccurate description. The goal is to alter the emotional or anxiety response.

If you google PTSD memory drugs or medication maybe something will come up.

SEKA's avatar

My cousin is married to a woman who had a nervous breakdown back in the 60’s. She tells stories of things they did to her to straighten her out that will give most people nightmares. What you describe is similar to some of the stories she’s told except I don’t think she ever mentioned the ankle strap and the mouth guard was a rubber stick that she occasionally snapped into 2 or sometimes 3 pieces

Dutchess_lll's avatar

In the 60s the phrase “Women’s hysteria” was used to describe, and dismiss, anything from PMS to bipolar diseases. My mom had lots and lots of Women’s Hysteria.

snowberry's avatar

Yes, it sounds right. And don’t forget that “hysterectomy” means to remove hysteria. And this was done to perfectly normal women!

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smudges's avatar

I’ve had ECT, and the reason for the ankle tourniquet is to prevent the anesthesia from reaching the foot. The MD will watch it along with the EEG, and since the foot isn’t medicated, it will seize. This tells the doctor that the desired seizure has occurred. Each treatment lasts less than 10 seconds – mine were less than 5 – and the whole procedure lasts 15–30 minutes.

raum's avatar

Do you mind me asking what you received ECT for? And was it effective?

anniereborn's avatar

@smudges Were you awake/aware when you had it done? How were the after effects? Did it help you?

smudges's avatar

@raum It was for depression, which I’ve had since I can remember, and was a last resort after many many medications. Yes, it helped. It’s been 2 years and I’m still doing well…still on meds too, will always be. I have bipolar 2 disorder and have many more episodes of depression than people with bipolar 1 disorder.

@anniereborn They put you out with general anesthesia. That’s what I meant about the foot seizing because it has no medication in it – I should have made that clear. So your body doesn’t actually have a seizure, only your brain does.

raum's avatar

Really glad to hear that it’s helped you. Bipolar is very tricky to manage. Sending you good thoughts.

smudges's avatar

@raum Thank you! That’s very kind.

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