Insulin shock therapy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Insulin shock therapy or insulin coma therapy (ICT) was a form of psychiatric treatment in which patients were repeatedly injected with large doses of insulin in order to produce daily comas over several weeks. It was introduced in 1933 by Polish-Austrian-American psychiatrist Manfred Sakel and used extensively in the 1940s and 1950s, mainly for schizophrenia, before falling out of favour and being replaced by neuroleptic drugs.

Pop culture

In Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940), Dr. Kildare uses the insulin treatment treat to a patient ("an insane man").

Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath's 1967 novel The Bell Jar receives insulin shock therapy while hospitalized.

Insulin shock therapy was featured and dramatized in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, based on the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr.

Dr. House in the US TV series House, initiated insulin shock therapy on himself in season 5 episode (Under My Skin) in an attempt to eliminate hallucinations caused by Vicodin abuse.

The American singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt was given insulin shock therapy, as a result of which he lost most of his memories of his childhood.

See also

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