Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, deliberately triggering a brief seizure. This seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can alleviate symptoms of certain mental illnesses. Yet 70 years after it was first introduced, electoconvulsive therapy remains controversial.
Much of the stigma attached to electroconvulsive therapy is based on early, brutal treatments in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss and death.
Electroconvulsive therapy is quite different today. Although electroconvulsive therapy can still cause side effects and complications, it now uses precisely calculated electrical currents administered in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks.
Because it can provide significant improvements in symptoms more quickly than psychotherapy or medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be the best treatment option for some people. ECT may help prevent suicide in people who are severely depressed, for instance. It may be tried when medications aren’t tolerated or other forms of therapy haven’t proved effective. And it may be used to end an episode of severe mania.
ECT is most commonly recommended for people with: Continue reading Electroconvulsive therapy – ECT