Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been around since the 1930’s, yet it is still associated with passionate controversy. A large contributing factor to the current perception of ECT include the negative and grossly inaccurate portrayals in various forms of media. Through a literature review, the mechanisms, safety, efficacy, and side effects of the therapy are presented in a graphic narrative. Using both words and art to present a more accurate and holistic depiction of ECT, it was decided to use this visual medium so that the information could be accessed by a wide range of readers and counter incorrect depictions. In particular, this narrative could be read by individuals who are interested in learning more about ECT or are considering the treatment, allowing this comic to be a tool to help others make informed decisions. The findings from the review suggest that while the mechanism of action has still yet to be elucidated for ECT, it is an effective treatment in certain severe psychiatric illnesses. Specifically, it can improve symptoms and the quality of life of patients, especially for those who may be resistant to pharmacotherapy.
The authors have no competing interests to declare.
Annie Zhu drew all the images in the comic. All authors contributed to writing the comic.
This article is part of the Graphic Science Special Collection, edited by Nicolas Labarre, with assistance from Ernesto Priego.
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