Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Shock Therapy Nearly 100,000 Americans sign up for electro-shock therapy every year to treat severe depression. Many patients call it life-saving, yet scientists still struggle to explain why it is effective. Critics say the procedure is barbaric and that doctors underplay the risk of post-therapy memory loss.
NPR logo Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Shock Therapy

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Shock Therapy

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Nearly 100 thousand Americans sign up for electro-shock therapy every year to treat severe depression. Many patients call it life-saving, yet scientists still struggle to explain why it is effective. Critics say the procedure is barbaric and that doctors underplay the risk of post-therapy memory loss.

Kitty Dukakis, co-author, Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy

Larry Tye, co-author, Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy

Sarah Lisanby, chief of the Brain Stimulation and Neuromodulation Division, Columbia University; chairperson of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on ECT and Related Electromagnetic Therapies; president of the International Society for Transcranial Stimulation

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