Biological therapies for schizophrenia: ECT

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Psychology unit 4 schizophrenia
Biological therapies-ECT
2 electrodes are placed on the head; 1 above the temple and 1 in the middle of the
forehead. A sedative is given to ensure the patient is unconscious before the
current of 0.6amps is applied. The patient is also paralysed by another chemical
to stop injuries from convulsion. The current is passed through for half a second
and patients typically receive between 3 and 15 treatments.
/ One study using 798 patients found that ECT is more effective than a
placebo called sham ECT. However ECT was found to be less effective when
compared to medication although some patients did appear to benefit from ECT
and medication together.
However, research in India found contradictory evidence suggesting there was
no difference between real and sham ECT. However this study only looked at 36
patients. Also this evidence was contradictory because of cultural variations in
diagnosis as it could be that in India a different diagnosis was used which means
that they may only think that very extreme cases of schizophrenia need ECT as a
last resort, whereas American diagnosis may lead to less extreme cases being
treated with ECT. Therefore Indian cases have smaller chances of recovery as the
cases are more extreme so naturally have a smaller chance of recovery than
American patients. Also, cultural variations in after care could explain these
results as Indian hospitals may have worse after care than American hospitals
which could mean there is a higher chance of a relapse in India.
Side effects are severe such as brain damage, death and memory loss. This
means that ECT can't be used as an everyday treatment as it can only be used as a
last resort.


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