Fifty patients over 50 years of age who had severe mental illness were treated with convulsive shock therapy. Of these 50 patients, 40 were either recovered or improved enough to be discharged to their homes. Ten remained unimproved. Although the risks taken seemed to be great, the complications and untoward results were remarkably few. Most of the cases had failed to respond to several months of conservative treatment, and in many cases it seemed almost certain that recovery would not occur unless drastic treatment was instituted. Even though some of the cases might have recovered eventually with prolonged conservative treatment, the time and economic saving was well worth the risks taken.