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June 1963

The Therapeutic Efficacy of ECTA Review of the Literature

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(6):546-556. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720120020004

A recent review (Pronko et al.15) of shock therapy in the United States since its introduction in 1937 until 1956 leads the authors to conclude that the era of shock therapy is fast drawing to a close. After 20 years of research, there are conflicting results as to the mode of action, therapeutic aim, and conditions for optimum therapeutic efficacy. In terms of scientific knowledge, the position is very little different now from that in 1937. With this in mind, the aim of the present paper is to review the literature on the therapeutic efficacy of the most commonly used of the shock therapies, electroshock or ECT.

The literature on ECT is considerable; in the Psychological Abstracts from 1955-1960, there are references to over 200 papers on the topic. However, only a proportion of these are concerned with the therapeutic efficacy of ECT; the remainder can

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