Electroshock: Healing Mental Illness

Electroshock: Healing Mental Illness

4.5 2
by Max Fink, Max Fink M. D.
     
 

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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

From the Publisher
"Dr. Fink...writes about the use of electroshock in the treatment of depression, mania and schizophrenia, among other disorders. He cites numerous studies that he says demonstrate its effectiveness, its record in reducing the cost and length of inpatient treatment, and its ability to bring on antidepressant effects earlier 'and more robust than those of antidepressant drugs.' Dr. Fink's assessment is generally confirmed by the National Institute of Mental Health, which characterizes electroshock therapy as 'one of the most effective yet most stigmatized treatments for depression.'"—The New York Times

"In an America long besotted with psychotherapy, Max Fink carried an often lonely torch for the physical treatment of psychiatric disorders . . . . Electroshock is a slim volume, packing a punch of controversy."—Nature

"This book, clearly written, concise, and assertive, should help balance the picture, educating mental health professionals and the general public alike"—Forward Magazine

"Dr. Fink...writes about the use of electroshock in the treatment of depression, mania and schizophrenia, among other disorders. He cites numerous studies that he says demonstrate its effectiveness, its record in reducing the cost and length of inpatient treatment, and its ability to bring on antidepressant effects earlier 'and more robust than those of antidepressant drugs.' Dr. Fink's assessment is generally confirmed by the National Institute of Mental Health, which characterizes electroshock therapy as 'one of the most effective yet most stigmatized treatments for depression.'"—The New York Times

"In an America long besotted with psychotherapy, Max Fink carried an often lonely torch for the physical treatment of psychiatric disorders . . . . Electroshock is a slim volume, packing a punch of controversy."—Nature

"This book, clearly written, concise, and assertive, should help balance the picture, educating mental health professionals and the general public alike"—Forward Magazine

"Among many ECT books that cover similar content, this volume really stands out. It not only reviews evidence-based literature but also reflects the author's enormous amount of personal experience in taking care of severely ill and often treatment-resistant patients....This book is clearly written by a strong ECT advocate, but it presents a balanced view of concomitant treatment options and alternatives."—Ethiopian Reivew, part of DC's Health News Forum

3 Stars from Doody
Michael J. Schrift
This is an excellent book on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) written primarily for patients and their families. Authored by an internationally recognized clinician and researcher, it is a valuable contribution to the field. The purpose is to explain and teach to patients and their families the safety and effectiveness of ECT for specific psychiatric disorders, and to describe and critically review the adverse side affects (e.g., memory loss, the myths and controversies of ECT, the history of the treatment, and even technical aspects of treatment). The author accomplishes this difficult task in easy-to-understand language without medical jargon. The intended audience is patients and their families. It would also be useful for non-psychiatric physicians unfamiliar with ECT, social workers, psychologists, and anyone in healthcare who works with the seriously mentally ill patient. This book features 157 pages divided into 12 chapters, including four appendixes, annotations from the various chapters, and an up-to-date bibliography section. The chapters include topics such as a description of treatment, the patient's experience, risks and contraindications, technical aspects, and various neuropsychiatric disorders for which ECT is used. Appendix 1 lists diagnoses in which ECT is considered effective and Appendix 2 lists diagnoses in which ECT is considered ineffective. Appendix 3 has a sample consent form, and Appendix 4 lists various drugs with their brand and generic names and uses. There is also a helpful index at the end of the book. This is an outstanding and informative new book on ECT. Clinicians who prescribe ECT should recommend this book to their patients and their patients'families.
Fore Word
Probably a few doctors overprescribed ECT, but the vast majority shy away from it too much. This book, clearly written, concise, and assertive, should help balance the picture, educating mental health professionals and the general public alike.
New England Journal of Medicine
In this book, Dr. Max Fink has made another important contribution to patients and physicians by filling the gap between standard patient-education materials on electroconvulsive treatment, most of which are dated as compared with information available at Web sites, and the specialized literature. Electroshock is written in language that will be easily understood by laypersons, and the supplemental notes and references will be very informative for primary care physicians who treat most of the depressed patients who should be referred for electroconvulsive treatment when standard medication is ineffective.
Booknews
Drawing on his 45 years of clinical and research experience, Fink (psychology and neurology, State U. of New York-Stony Brook) argues that electroshock therapy is now a safe, effective, painless, and sometimes life-saving treatment for emotional and mental disorders. He describes how it was discovered in 1934, was widely accepted for two decades, was largely replaced by psychotropic drugs in the 1950s, and is now seeing a revival because undesirable side effects have been removed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195158045
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/19/2002
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.50(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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Electroshock: Healing Mental Illness 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This educational book identifies the benefits and the minimal risks of ECT. It helps to reduce the stigma of this life saving treatment, as well as explaining its history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago