Questionable Treatment Practices in Psychology

Week 3 Journal

Questionable Treatment Practices in Psychology

The treatment that I choose to consider in this week’s journal is Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I choose to consider this therapy because I was unaware that this method of treatment was still being legally administered to patients with severe depression and Bipolar disorder. I have only heard of this type of treatment being used in scary movies and when I read this in our text I was quite shocked that ECT was still an option today. According to Getzfeld and Schwartz (2013), ECT was first introduced in the ’30s to treat patients who failed to respond to medication or other therapies (section 6.5). Future researchers might find this treatment to be barbaric and crude due to its invasive and disturbing nature and possibly life-threatening side effects. During ECT therapy the patient receives an electric impulse to the brain which results in a seizure causing the patient to convulse. ECT can be an effective quick way to treat disorders such as depression and Bipolar disorder, however, individuals who undergo this type of therapy run the risk of side effects, and possibly dangerous outcomes like; memory loss, or even death, and subjecting someone to ECT seems to be inhumane and cruel.

Due to the fact that there is little known about how ECT works to relieve symptoms associated with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. In order for current acceptance of ECT to change researchers would have to gain more factual knowledge regarding what causes this type of therapy to effectively eliminate symptoms and gain a deeper understanding of the benefits versus the risks of treatment.

The ethical issues that might be involved in using a questionable treatment option would first of all depend on the treatment that is being questioned. However, with any questionable treatment individuals would have to decide if the treatment in question was the most effective in the treatment of the specific issue that it would be used to treat, whether or not the treatment benefits would outweigh the risks, and whether or not the treatment in question would bring any unnecessary distress upon the patient being treated.


Getzfeld, A., & Schwartz, S. (2013). Abnormal psychology: DSM-5 update [Electronic version].

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