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Electroconvulsive Therapy: Part II: A Biopsychosocial Perspective

Payne, Nancy A., LCSW, MA*; Prudic, Joan, MD

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: September 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 369-390
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000361278.73092.85

The myths surrounding electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and the misconceptions held by the general public, clinicians, and patients have interfered with acceptance of this treatment throughout its history. Misunderstandings surrounding ECT, and its consequent stigmatization, are reviewed, including negative depictions of ECT in film, print media, and on the Internet. Clinicians involved in the delivery of ECT benefit from gaining an understanding of how ECT may be perceived by patients and other mental health professionals; they can play a vital role in educating patients and helping ensure the delivery of a successful course of ECT. Guidance is provided for clinicians on how to support patients and families through the ECT process using a model team approach. Anxiety reduction, meeting individual needs, patient and family psychoeducation, assessment of psychosocial supports, and discharge planning are discussed.

*New York University (NYU), Silver School of Social Work

New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia campus, and New York State Psychiatric Institute

This paper was supported in part by NIMH Grant R37 MH35636-21.

Please send correspondence to: Nancy A. Payne, LCSW, MA, NYU Silver School of Social Work, Doctoral Program, 1 Washington Square North, New York, NY 10003.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.