Christian Long

Sherwin Nuland: Electroshock Therapy

In TED Talks on May 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Reflection by CONNOR M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Sherwin Nuland:  Electroshock Therapy

It is always inspiring to hear a person’s story on how they were picked up from one of the darkest places in their lives.

Nuland explains how electroshock therapy has developed into a treatment for schizophrenia or depression, being a patient himself.

What I want to know is why so many people are still going through depression? What I mean by that is how is it possible?

In present day, as Nuland says, we have muscle relaxants now that cause an isolated convulsion in the brain that is supposed to have the same effect as electroshock, but only makes a foot twitch or so. The problem with anti-depressant drugs is that people get addicted, not all, but some. At least as far as I see it, electroshock therapy had no setbacks, and with enough of it, can fully eliminate the depression.

Another question is why don’t we use it more?

It seems that drugs are much more common for the treatment of depressed peoples, but it shouldn’t be. Now I may only be seeing the surface of things, but for the moment it’s just strange to me. Perhaps electroshock therapy should be more often used until we actually develop drugs with as little setbacks as electroshock itself. A person may have to go through a series of strong convulsions, but it seems to me that drugs can have a more lasting negative effect.

This man was brought back from nothing, and is leading a new life. Not only is he better, but he has been strengthened, Nuland says. Is electroshock therapy today truly a better option than anti-depressants?

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