The History of Insulin Shock Therapy or IST

Also called insulin coma therapy and Sankel’s therapy, insulin shock therapy was even more dangerous than the better known electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT.)  This treatment began in 1927 but has disappeared in the West by the 1970s.  There are scattered reports that it is still used in China, Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union.

It was considered one of the only treatments for schizophrenia.  Even when Thorazine came on the market, patients were often given Thorazine and then went through weeks or even months of excruciating IST sessions.  At least patients are anesthetized for ECT nowadays.  Perhaps the most famous person to survive/be treated by IST is Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash, subject of the popular film A Beautiful Mind (2001.)  In his case, IST did more harm than good.

For more details about the history of IST, please read my article at Yahoo.  Thanks!

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