Electroconvulsive Therapy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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  • Electroconvulsive Therapy in...

    By: Gabriella Jeffrey

  • ECTThe psychology term connected to this movie is Electroconvulsive therapy. It is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT is traditionally used to help patients with severe depression.

  • History of ECTIn 1937, Ugo Cerletti, a epilepsy specialist, decided shock induced seizures would be good for treating Schizophrenia. After testing on animals, he moved to actual patients. They had no memory of the procedures, so they liked it more than metrazol. Popularity of this therapy went down in the 60s and 70s.

  • ECT back then vs todayBack thenGiven no relaxants Patients were fully awake for procedureOften broke bones

    TodayPatients are given muscle relaxants and an anesthetic Given shocks while unconscious

  • One flew over the cuckoo's nest was originally a book written by 1962 novel written by Ken Casey. He wrote based on his trip to the Oregon mental institute. Therefore, the movie is based on a real institute and real behaviors of nurses.


  • Movie summaryOne flew over the cuckoo's nest. Randle McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson) was sentenced to prison (again) and instead faked being insane. He was then sent to a mental institution, which he believed would be better than prison but he was wrong. The place was run by a terrible nurse named Nurse Ratched, and she treated all of the patients horribly, punishing them using ECT.

  • Connection: ECT in the movieThe horrible nurse Ratched used ECT as punishment in her institution. McMurphy and two others were then given this treatment when they got in trouble. He didn't even have an illness!

  • My opinionElectroconvulsive therapy sounds absolutely terrifying. This movie is great for showing how it was in the past as well as the equipment used. This is a last resort procedure for an ill patient when no other type of medicine is working, and the fact that she used it on them as punishment! It had a realistic interpretation of life in an institution and what ECT is and how it is used.

  • Referenceshttps://psybites.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest/http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n04/historia/shock_i.htm#cerlettihttp://www.electroboy.com/electroshocktherapy.htmhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psychologist-the-movies/201205/mental-hospitals-in-one-flew-over-the-cuckoo-s-nest


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