The use of convulsive therapy can be traced back to the 14th century, although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was not introduced until 1938. At that time there was no effective treatment against serious psychiatric illness, and the introduction of ECT was well accepted. In the 1950s and 1960s indications for ECT treatment were liberal, especially in the USA. This contributed to the development of negative and sceptical attitudes towards ECT treatment. In this study we wish to explore the views and attitudes of ECT patients towards this form of treatment. We wish to examine what the patients knew about ECT treatment prior to receiving treatment, the information received during treatment, how they experienced the treatment, if they experienced side effects of the therapy, and if they would recommend this form of treatment to other patients. This was performed using a structured questionnaire, which the patients completed 2 weeks post treatment. A total of six patients completed the form.
The patients interviewed possessed a moderate degree of knowledge about ECT, and were moderately satisfied with the information given during treatment. Although the majority of patients experienced side effects of the treatment, they would choose to accept ECT on a different occasion. All the subjects interviewed would recommend this form of treatment to other patients. We believe these results could prove useful in motivating future patients eligible for this form of therapy.