Leon Rosenberg, a former dean of medicine at Yale University, had just attempted suicide by overdose. He was admitted to hospital and prescribed electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT.
This is the start of an excellent article by Michael Evans an associate professor at the University of Toronto and staff physician at Toronto Western Hospital.
This article also discusses some other myths, for instance about depression:
Those on the outside still see it as not really a disease but a weakness. Those on the inside see it as a chronic disease like any other, but with a twist.
Or this one about suicide, one of the complications of depression:
“Heart attack victims are consoled (‘Isn’t it a pity?’); suicide victims are cursed (‘How could he?’).”
We discount a therapy that has proven effectiveness because of its image, yet every day embrace unproven therapies that have benefited from a public-relations makeover.
To my opinion the most nuanced view on side-effects of ECT:
Memory loss seems the side effect of most concern to patients. With current ECT, it is usually transient, but any unauthorized withdrawal from the memory bank is a travesty. The medical community has occasionally shown insensitivity to this, but researchers are now attempting to better delineate the cause and effect.