A few posts ago, I told you about a book I didn’t recommend to read, so now I thought I’d make amends and recommend a book instead. I have to admit that it is more fun to write negative book reviews — but it’s only fun when the book sucks. Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Penguin; 2006) was not fun to write because the book did not suck.
After the release of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest (1975), ECT was pretty much put on the old curiosity shelf for decades, and for good reason. It was often used indiscriminately, but not in all hospitals or asylums. This book gives ample time to proponents of ECT but also spends a good deal of time interviewing people who claim they were harmed by shock therapy.
ECT is now performed when a person is under anesthesia. It is saved as a last-ditch resort in many cases — often when someone has just tried to commit suicide and has bad or no reactions to existing psychological medications. Shock therapy sure isn’t for everyone (I hadn’t needed it — yet, anyway) but it does seem to benefit a small number of people.
Anyway, my review is here on Yahoo Voices. The money I get from page views on Yahoo helps ensure that this blog stays ad-free. Thanks.