This book is well-written and concise. It provides an overview of ECT that is evidence-based yet understandable by the average person. The author effectively uses clinical anecdotes to provide a “face” for the science. The book is organized in a user-friendly way.
Patients are most likely to be interested in the first 6 chapters. The remaining chapters complete an overview of ECT that will be more relevant to clinicians.
A brief introductory chapter explains the technology. In the second chapter, the author describes and discusses the patient’s experience. Dr Fink expertly explains in a tone that speaks directly to patients and their families not only what happens during the therapy but also why it happens. This is followed by a discussion of the treatment technique and a review of important issues that the patient and treating physician should discuss during a course of therapy.
A chapter about the effect on memory and the potential side effects of ECT tackles, in a straightforward manner, the most controversial issues that surround this form of therapy. The author succinctly explains how previous limitations in medical practice and technology contributed to a severe impact on memory. Dr Fink then highlights the currently employed advances in medical practice that minimize such adverse effects. The chapters that focus on specific illnesses amenable to ECT address key issues for both patient and clinician.
In the closing chapter, Dr Fink applies current guidelines for ethical behavior by medical practitioners of ECT. He concludes that ECT is ethical and addresses the reality that the suffering caused by bias against ECT is an injustice against patients.
This book is a valuable tool for clinicians and for patients and their families. It is especially helpful for those who are struggling with the decision of whether to proceed with ECT.