Why zapping the brain is sometimes a good ideaEsther Inglis-Arkell5/09/11 11:00amFiled to: PsychologyMedicineElectricitybiologyElectroshock TherapyTopScience561EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalink Electroshock therapy has been featured in many movies, usually as a total nightmare meted out by sadistic doctors on an innocent patient for no reason and with no benefit. And it's still used today. But why? Because, despite its depiction on film, it's painless and effective. Electroshock therapy has a bad reputation, and in some ways it should. It involves passing an electric current through the brain cells of a living human being. If there's anything that doctors don't want people trying at home, it's that. Still, Hollywood may have gone overboard. Movies like The Snake Pit and The Butcher Boy portray the therapy as agonizing, and Requiem for a Dream makes it analogous to having an arm amputated. Many people today see the therapy as archaic as a lobotomy. Unlike lobotomy-like procedures, which have died out except in life-threatening cases of epilepsy, electroshock therapy is still commonly done.