Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment most commonly used in patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder that has not responded to other treatments. ECT involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.
Side-effects loss of memory about the events immediately before and after ECT. heart rhythm disturbances. low blood pressure. headaches. nausea. sore muscles, aching jaw. confusion .
It is legal in the United States , though it’s illegal to give it to patients younger than 16 in Texas and Colorado. In some cases, with the permission of courts, doctors can force very sick patients to get ECT . One of the more serious side effects of ECT is memory loss.
What is the Success Rate of Electroconvulsive Therapy? ECT is an effective medical treatment option, helping as many as 80- 85 percent of patients who receive it. Most patients remain well for many months afterwards.
ECT does not change a person’s personality , nor is it designed to treat those with just primary “ personality disorders.” ECT can cause transient short-term memory — or new learning — impairment during a course of ECT , which fully reverses usually within one to four weeks after an acute course is stopped.
Any helpful effects are likely to be short-term. ECT can ‘t prevent future depression, or fix any ongoing stresses or problems that are contributing to how you ‘re feeling. Some people have very bad experiences of ECT , for example because they feel worse after treatment or are given it without consent.
ECT is not used to treat anxiety and therefore does not have a role in people who have solely an anxiety disorder. ECT may have a role in people who have comorbid depression and anxiety .
When ECT is properly administered, brain damage does not occur. In fact, research has shown that ECT increases brain -derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates brain cell growth.
People who have had ECT before and responded well are good candidates for ECT . Other first-line indications for the procedure include people who are catatonic or suffering from a form of depression known as psychotic depression (depression associated with delusions and hallucinations).
If electroconvulsive therapy doesn’t work , the next step could be deep brain stimulation (DBS) — a depression treatment that is currently considered experimental.
ECT is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been shown to be highly effective , giving some patients full reversal of severe depression symptoms. Overall, ECT is approximately 80 percent effective when a patient is a good candidate.
How long is an ECT procedure? A single ECT session usually lasts one hour. This includes the time the patient will be in the treatment room ( approximately 15-20 minutes ) and the time spent in the recovery room ( approximately 20-30 minutes ).
Once the procedure is complete, the effects of the short-acting anesthetic and muscle relaxant will quickly begin to wear off . You will be taken to a recovery area where you will be monitored for any complications.
a past history of moderate or severe depression or. initial presentation of subthreshold depressive symptoms that have been present for a long period (typically at least 2 years) or. subthreshold depressive symptoms or mild depression that persist(s) after other interventions.
Patients are not allowed to drive during the entire ECT course and for 2 weeks after the last treatment in an acute series of ECT . An acute series is usually 3 treatments a week for 6 to 12 treatments . Patients who receive maintenance ECT can drive except on the day of ECT .