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June 1947

ELECTROCEREBRAL SHOCK THERAPY: A Reconsideration of Former Contraindications

Author Affiliations


From the Philadelphia Psychiatric Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1947;57(6):693-711. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1947.02300290053003

WITH the advent of new procedures and drugs in the field of applied medicine, there may be a tendency to an overenthusiastic application of these methods, with the result that failures occur in frequently unlooked-for, untoward effects. The result is a swing in the opposite direction of conservatism and overcautiousness, and many patients who would benefit from a new form of treatment are refused it. The severe convulsive reactions encountered with metrazol shock and the early inexperience with methods of overcoming or subduing complications produced a timidity with respect to contraindications which carried over to electric shock therapy.

It is not at all unlikely that the present seemingly drastic and terrifying forms of shock therapy will be superseded by some gentle chemical process based on a rational biochemical-physiologic understanding of the why and wherefore of the salutary response of certain psychoses to shock therapy. Until such time, however, the present

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