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Electroconvulsive Therapy
     

Electroconvulsive Therapy

by Max Fink
 

Electroshock therapy has long suffered from a controversial and bizarre public image, effectively removing it as a treatment option for many patients. In Electroshock, Max Fink, M.D., draws on 45 years of clinical and research experience to argue that ECT is now a safe, painless, and sometimes life-saving treatment for emotional and mental disorders.

Dr. Fink

Overview

Electroshock therapy has long suffered from a controversial and bizarre public image, effectively removing it as a treatment option for many patients. In Electroshock, Max Fink, M.D., draws on 45 years of clinical and research experience to argue that ECT is now a safe, painless, and sometimes life-saving treatment for emotional and mental disorders.

Dr. Fink traces the development of ECT from its discovery in 1934 followed by widespread use for two decades, to the 1950s when it was largely replaced by the introduction of psychotropic drugs, to its revival in the past twenty years as a viable treatment. He provides actual case studies of patients who have been treated with ECT and illustrates that many disorders—such as depression, mania, catatonia, and schizophrenia—respond well to it. As he explains the whole procedure from preparation to recovery, we see what the patient experiences. Fink also shows how anesthesia and muscle relaxation have refined ECT, minimizing discomfort and reducing risks to a level far lower than those experienced by patients using psychotropic drugs routinely prescribed for the same problems.

Clarifying the many misconceptions surrounding ECT, Electroshock is an excellent sourcebook for patients, their families, and mental health professionals.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: It is most unfortunate that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains an underutilized and frequently neglected lifesaving treatment modality. ECT is the most effective treatment in psychiatry for melancholia and catatonic states, relieving these illnesses more quickly, safely, and fully than psychotropic medication or any other intervention. Over his career, Max Fink, MD, has been an unwavering, stalwart advocate for the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy in general and its use over other treatments for serious mental Illness. This is Dr. Fink's latest addition to his extensive body of work and is representative of his gifts as a teacher and a clinician. It is a welcome addition to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide answers to common questions asked by patients, their families, and professionals such as: "Is this treatment still used? Is it safe? Is there a risk of brain damage? Will there be memory loss?" Dr. Fink hopes that "this book will help you understand and appreciate its (ECT) potential to heal the severely psychiatrically ill." Indeed, Dr. Fink has produced a very readable and informative guide.
Audience: Those faced with the decision of whether to use ECT are the intended audience, which includes patients, their families, and clinicians — primary care physicians, nurses, and psychiatrists. It should be required reading for residents (trainees) in psychiatry residency training programs.
Features: The book covers what ECT is, the treatment from the patient's perspective, the treatment technique, side effects, and the use of ECT in various disorders, including mood disorders, movement disorders, psychosis, pregnancy, and pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders, how it might work, the history of ECT, whether brain stimulation is an alternative to ECT, and the ethics of ECT. The best parts of the book are the patient vignettes that provide sketches of real life psychiatric situations. The useful appendixes include a list of diagnoses for which ECT is considered to be effective and ineffective, a sample informed consent document, and common medication names and uses. The bibliography contains relevant and important citations on recent research on ECT.
Assessment: This new edition is an instructive and readable guide to ECT for clinicians, patients, and families faced with severe, unrelenting, and disabling psychopathology.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195365740
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/01/2008
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Max Fink, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology Emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Attending Psychiatrist at the Long Island Jewish-Hillside Hospital Medical Center. He is the author of Convulsive Therapy: Theory and Practice, Psychobiology of Convulsive Therapy, and other books. He lives in Nissequogue, New York.

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