Shock rise in electric treatment

The use of electric shocks in psychiatric treatment has more than doubled in the last five years in Sweden.

In 2000 around 18,000 electric shock treatments were administered in Sweden, according to statistics presented by Swedish Radio. Five years later that figure is 40,000.

Electric shock therapy began to be used during the 1930s. Today the method is used primarily on patients who are psychotic, or suffering from deep depression and abnormal mood swings, and when medicine or therapy have failed to have any effect.

Håkan Odeberg, a psychiatric consultant at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, supports the method.

“In cases where the patient is severely depressed and you have already tried many other forms of treatment, electric shock therapy can have an almost miraculous effect,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.

However, Kjell Broström from the National Association for Social and Mental Health, is not convinced. He told SvD that some patients experience terrible memory loss and that the treatment’s effects can be short-lived.