Mental notes

A propos of last week's antidepressants blogging, this is a pretty interesting talk about electroshock therapy by a surgeon who went through it himself. One of the things it highlights is that one of the main ways in which treatments for depression succeed simply by giving the patient hope that they can stop being depressed. That's not the only thing it does--the placebo effect wears off, and the effects of electroshock therapy and Prozac don't. But it seems to be a big part of it.

The other, less happy discovery is that they were planning to give him a pre-frontal lobotomy in the late 1970's before the electroshock rescued him from depression. I had been under the impression that the procedure was already on its way out when novelists took the subject up in the early 1960's, but apparently not.