Bone fractures and serious psychological trauma: those were some of the side effects of the electroshock. At the time, the doctors had not yet developed the method as far as it is today.
In 1957, a woman received electroshock therapy at Winwick Hospital, a psychiatric institution in Great Britain.
1. Years **1930: the electroshock is taken into use **© Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine // Flickr // Creative Commons
The electroshock was invented in 1938 by two Italian doctors. These doctors already knew that some psychologically ill people would feel better if they provoked an epileptic seizure.
Patients are therefore given metrazole in hospitals, which causes them to have a cramping attack. But this medicine has serious side effects, and before they get muscle cramps, patients suffer from an enormous amount of anxiety.
The electroshock is therefore used in the 1940s as a safer and more humane way to trigger an attack.
2. Years **1950: doctors abuse the electroshock **© Youtube
The creepy scenes out One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest shows a scene that takes place in the 1950s. The electroshock helps a lot of the mentally ill, but in some hospitals the shocks are used as a threat and method to keep troublesome patients under it.
In the early 1950s, some doctors still perform the electroshock in its purest form, so without muscle relaxants and anesthesia. That is why a number of patients experience serious trauma because they are aware during the treatment. Others suffer such severe muscle cramps that they suffer bone fractures.
3. Years **1960: the electroshock gets a bad name **© Nasko // Creative Commons
The electroshock helps against depression. This has been frequently demonstrated in various scientific publications since 1938. But many patients are still afraid of the treatment.
In the anti-authoritarian 1960s, the so-called antipsychiatry is created. A movement whose most fervent supporters claim that mental illnesses do not exist at all. They are also strongly opposed to the electroshock.
Antipsychiatry, negative publicity and the rise of antidepressants mean that the use of electroshock is declining in the 1960s and 1970s.
4. Years **1980: the electroshock receives a comeback **
Various patients in the media say that they are doing better after they have had an electroshock. The method gets rid of its bad name and several major medical authorities agree with the use of the electroshock in depression.
In hospitals, the use of the electrical shock is increasing again.
5. Now **: the electroshock makes your brain grow **
We now know that the electroshock is the best treatment for major depression. Research shows that almost 80 percent of the severely depressed after treatment completely get rid of their disease. And a week after the treatment, they are already doing better, while medicines often only start working after a few months.
Electroshock happens today under controlled conditions. The patient is under general anesthesia and receives muscle relaxants, so that the body is not injured by the severe muscle cramps caused by the shock.
Researchers have recently discovered how the electroshock works. The depressed areas of hippocampus and amygdala are small in depressed people and an electroshock causes them to grow larger.