Recent Modifications of Convulsive Shock Therapy (Univ of Nebraska-Omaha, 1941)

[A woman wearing a hospital gown is on all fours on a bed, then sits up.] [She stands, touches the walls, sits back down.] [She is smiling, laughing, rocking, and tugging at her hospital gown.] [She sits, stands, speaks, tears paper,] [She rolls around on the bed.] […] [A vial of medication is shown and a syringe prepared. The woman is injected.] […] […] [The woman lies in bed with eyes closed. A doctor moves her head and limbs.] […] [The woman lies still while receiving an injection, then moves slowly afterward. ] [Her mouth opens and closes and the doctor
moves her limbs. She appears to be convulsing.] […] [The woman previously treated is sitting on a sofa, looking around. She smiles.] […] [A doctor injects a woman lying down in a hospital bed. She appears mostly sedated but moves her limbs now and then.] […] [The woman seems to have a mild seizure. The doctor stands over her, straightening her limbs if they flail.] […] [A bottle of methoquinine is shown, then a table of other vials and a nurse mixing the dose.] [A bottle of metrazol is shown and the nurse continues her work, preparing a syringe.] […] [The nurse hands the syringe to the doctor, who injects another patient.] [The patient is initially still but then begins to jerkily move her head and body.] […] [The patient lies in bed, eyes closed, with the doctor’s hand on the back of her neck.] […] [A man lies in bed, and an attendant is cleaning the area around his temples. He then places an apparatus on the man’s head.] […] [The electro-shock is administered and the man’s body reacts, turning and convulsing. He goes still, breathing heavily.] […] [A woman receives electro-convulsive treatment. Her body goes rigid, then trembles and jerks and is finally still.] […] [X-ray of patient’s fractured spine, a result of the convulsions.] […] [A syringe of curare is prepared and administered to a male patient prior to electro-shock treatment.] […] [The electric current is delivered, and the patient convulses, at first markedly and then more mildly.]

21 comments

  1. Convulsive shock therapy! When the convulsions produce fractured spines and fractures to the lower extremities those have to be some serious convulsions. Is convulsive shock therapy still used today? If it is I feel sorry for the person receiving it. This is so brutal and barbaric!

  2. Antidepressants and antipsychotic medications did not exist was we know them today in the 1930's and 1940's. Shock therapy was seen as a great breakthrough in that serious mental illnesses could be treated rather than patients being housed indefinitely in a mental hospital. Many still were but a lot went home after this treatment, as horrifying as it is to watch or endure. Some history: shock therapies became available in the 1930's, first with insulin coma, then metrazol and finally electroshock. Insulin coma shock therapy was discovered by accident in the late 1920's, when a mentally ill morphine addict who was given a dose of insulin slipped into a coma. When the patient recovered, she was remarkably more coherent and Dr. Manfred Sakel reasoned that it might help other mental patients. In the 1930's, Dr. Meduna observed that there were more of a certain type of brain cells in patients who had epilepsy and those epileptic patients rarely had mental illness. Likewise, he observed that many schizophrenic patients had few of the type of brain cells that caused epilepsy. It was believed the illnesses were antagonistic and he thought that if you could artificially induce epilepsy for a few treatments, perhaps it would cure the schizophrenia. Metrazol shock therapy grew out of that and while not entirely successful for schizophrenia, it was helpful for affective disorders like depression. Electroshock followed in 1938 and of these treatments, only electroshock is still used today. Patients hated metrazol with a passion, even with the curare given ahead of time to soften the convulsions. From the moment the Metrazol was injected, some patients described it feeling like fire through the veins. It's a cardiac stimulant so patients experienced racing hearts, anxiety, respiration and were totally conscious for up to a minute before the convulsion set in and unconsciousness set in. A frightening experience. Sometimes, they failed to have a convulsion if the dose was not exact and had to be held down to administer more Metrazol. They remembered everything and after the first one, often had to be forced to have further treatments. The massive advantage of electroshock was that it produced the same effect of causing a convulsion but patients were instantly unconscious with the passage of the current. (Current then was set about 100 volts of less than 1/2 second duration). After the patient awoke, they had amnesia for the brief period before the treatment so any memory of fear was absent– though many patients objected to the idea of electricity being shot through their heads. Today's electroshock treatments involve the injection of a short acting anaesthetic, then a muscle paralytic (similar to curare but safer), and then while the patient is already asleep, the passage of the current. Sadly, there is still no medical cure for serious mental illness like schizophrenia.

  3. poor people …they payed the price of evolution and now is our turn diffrent methods but same deal,just for the greed of knowledge acceptance and trust are not always good, things what looks great now maybe in the future one of us will be in one of the videos

  4. It became the way forward there after. Haven’t heard one single success story from anyone I know who underwent ECT with or without consent. Brain damage and theft of memory

  5. This was a very successful type of treatment back in the day, whether you like the visuals or not. A couple minutes of convulsions vs. months of major depressive disorder isnt even close to being a hard decision, especially if you have suffered from major depression. This type of treatment is actually making a comeback because it's all that really works for some people.

  6. 0:53 I love that outfit. Gown and panties. I want to be like her the rest of my life. I deserve to be institutionalized in a mental hospital

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