Author | Garry Walter, MD

Articles

About To Have ECT? Fine, but Don't Watch It in the Movies: The Sorry Portrayal of ECT in Film

June 01, 2004

Article

Hollywood has had a long-standing love affair with psychiatry and its portrayals of electroconvulsive therapy reflect and influence public attitudes toward the treatment. One-third of medical students decreased their support for the treatment after being shown ECT scenes from movies, and the proportion of students who would dissuade a family member or friend from having ECT rose from less than 10% prior to viewing to almost 25% afterward. So what is the legacy of portrayals that have been so abhorrent, and are there any exceptions to the rule?

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