Date Published: March 24, 2017
Authors: Joseph J. Cooper, MD and Stephanie Lichtor, MD
Overview: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is well known to psychiatrists as a highly effective and safe treatment for severe neuropsychiatric conditions. ECT’s reputation in the lay public suffers from stigma based partially on historically accurate accounts of its use, especially pre-anesthesia, and partially on widely-propagated falsehoods, including that it causes brain damage. Based on this stigma, ECT has been the subject of laws limiting its use, particularly in children.
Autism is a debilitating neurodevelopmental condition. Parents of children with autism are sometimes known to pursue non-traditional treatments and many things purported to treat autism have little scientific evidence to back them up. In this module, learners will read and critique a 2016 article from The Atlantic on the use of ECT in children with autism.
Author Affiliations: Dr. Joseph Cooper is an Assistant Professor, Residency Training Director and Director of Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation Services at the University of Chicago. Dr. Stephanie Lichtor is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. The National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative is a collaborative effort with AADPRT and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning and receives support from the NIH (R25 MH10107602S1) ©National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative.