Daniel Smith's Shock And Disbelief (ECT)

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In researching about mental health for a project, I stumbled upon an article in the Atlantic called "Shock and Disbelief." In writer Daniel Smith's article, he argues that the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the complete opposite of the Hollywoodized image of electroshock therapy and instead is a very safe and proven effective way of treating mental illnesses. His purpose is to destigmatize ECT and promote a positive outlook on receiving treatment for mental illnesses. He adopts an educated tone in order to show his credibility on the topic to his audience. Smith begins his article with a comparison of society's image of ECT and his experience with witnessing a therapy. He describes a pamphlet he saw of a man "with bright bolts of electricity…show more content…
He explains that ECT was much safer compared to Metrazol shock: patients did not vomit, and they did not experience as much psychological trauma. But Smith also explores the problems with ECT in the 1940s such as the “effects of muscular convulsions...Thrashing around on the treatment table, many patients bit their tongues and cheeks...Many suffered broken bones or serious spinal injuries...memory loss...ECT was also drastically overused.” In addition, he references famous patients of ECT that condemned the therapy like poet Sylvia Plath, writer Ernest Hemingway, and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As a result, ECT disappeared in the 1970s and was replaced with drugs. This makes the audience consider the other side of the subject- the negative effects ECT has on patients. The list of negative effects prove the common belief of abusive, and the reference to famous patients not only gives legitimacy to the opposing side through authority but also gives specific people who believe the common belief. Although Smith is trying to destigmatize electroconvulsive therapy, he still presents information that refutes his argument, making him more…show more content…
Breggins begins to seem credible as he is an author and lecturers, and many patients who had negative experiences with ECT quote his arguments verbatim; however, Smith presents Breggins as a discreditable source who believes “Mental illness is a metaphor. It's not reality. When patients come into my office and say that they're depressed, I don't give them medication. I ask questions...Depression isn't caused by some mythical biochemical imbalance. It's another word for hopelessness." Such as statement has been widely accepted by society to be false and ignorant. I thought that if Briggins believes mental illness is fake then he has no authority speaking for people with mental illnesses that had undergone

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