One is a woman in her 60s, who, like the others, gets a momentary jolt of electricity sent through her head, causing a brain seizure and her body to tense for several seconds. The hope: That this treatment - the electroconvulsive, or "electro-shock," therapy - will ease the symptoms of her bipolar disorder that has so far not responded well to drugs.
The procedure, one of thousands performed at Park Royal since the 76-bed hospital opened last year, has worked on the woman in the past, says Dr. Ivan Mazzorana, who performs all of them on patients here. And, he said, it's likely to do so again. These days, the treatment goes by its more clinical-sounding acronym, "ECT."
"When you bring it up, most people say, 'Oh my God! Not ECT, that's something from the past,'" Mazzorana said. "It's a very simple procedure, safer, and it's a lot quicker than the medication."
Electroconvulsive therapy today is a procedure widely accepted by the medical community and one, absent a rare court order, that is done with patient consent. But it is also a treatment that lingers in the public imagination as a crude medical holdover almost as dated as bloodletting. Many outside of psychiatry are surprised to learn that the procedure still exists at all.
Despite that, ECT has seen a resurgence at many U.S. health centers in recent decades, experts say, and is now doing a brisk business here in Southwest Florida. Read more >>