Article Title

Electroconvulsive therapy on Hungarian websites


Background: Although there are several similarities in terms of their equipment and the way they are performed, the social perception and public attitudes towards electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and electric cardioversion (ECV) is entirely different. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the information on Hungarian Internet sites on ECT and ECV with respect to their depiction and acceptance by the public.

Subjects and methods: An Internet search was undertaken with the Google search engine using the terms „ECT”, „electroconvulsive therapy”, „electroshock”, „defibrillator” and „electric cardioversion”. The search was restricted to information published in the Hungarian language from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2010. All communications were classified into negative, neutral and positive groups depending on their attitude towards the aforementioned treatment methods. Professional or nonprofessional categories were also distinguished.

Results: The total number of communications, which appeared between 2000 and 2010 and contained one of the search words for ECT was 66. The majority of them portrayed ECT in a negative (24; 36.4%) or neutral (25; 37.9%) fashion. Most of the websites (139; 95.2%) related to ECV were reflected positive (120; 82.2%) and neutral opinions (19; 13.0%).

Conclusions: Hungarian-language Internet sites mainly view ECT as negative or neutral in contrast to ECV cardioversion, which has almost entirely a positive reputation. Although the effectiveness of both therapies is equally well established, their public image as manifested on the Internet differs significantly. This may have a major impact on the frequency of their use.