Shock therapy (psychiatry)

Shock therapy describes a set of techniques used in psychiatry to treat depressive disorder or other illnesses, by inducing seizures or other extreme brain states. It was started in the 1930s.[1] Shock therapy covers multiple forms.

The only form in current clinical practice is electroconvulsive therapy. Other forms, no longer in use, include:

  • Insulin shock therapy, introduced by Manfred Sakel in 1933 for the treatment of schizophrenia.[2] This resulted in a coma state for a short amount of time. Insulin shock therapy worked better for some forms of schizophrenia than others[1]
  • Convulsive therapy, using pentylenetetrazol or other agents to induce seizures. The first use was with cardiazol by von Meduna of Budapest; the belief at the time was there was "some kind of biological antagonism between schizophrenia and epilepsy".[2]
  • Deep sleep therapy.

Shock therapy has fallen away in use in lieu of other forms of treatment.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Shock therapy | psychiatry". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  2. ^ a b Gillespie, R.D. (1938). "Schizophrenia". The British encyclopaedia of medical practice, Volume 10. London: Butterworth & co. pp. 311–312.