"Psychiatric Debate over Electric Shock Treatment"
last update: 20151224
Psychiatric Debate over Electric Shock Treatment
The objectives of the present study are to outline the arguments for and against electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT), analyze the problems concerning ECT as well as factors promoting the procedure, and to discuss the
ethical issues associated with ECT implementation.
In the present study, first, the arguments for ECT in psychiatry and arguments against ECT among patients
are outlined. Second, the problems concerning ECT are analyzed in relation to "informed consent (IC)", the
"patient-physician relationship", and "discontinuity of experience". Third, factors promoting ECT are analyzed
with regard to the following three points: the "privilege of physicians in treatments that alter consciousness",
"the logic of markets involving psychiatry", and "the sequencing of consciousness and self". Finally, the
fundamental ethical issue of "discontinuity of experience" in ECT is focused upon, and the validity of ECT in
medical practice is discussed.
Ethical issues in ECT arise due to the fact that it is a treatment method that involves "discontinuity of
experience" among patients. Such "discontinuity of experience" constitutes deprivation of the patients' social
relationships, and thus lacks validity in medical practice.
Keywords: electric shock treatment, modified ECT, discontinuity of experience, consciousness, self