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 may promote changes in how brain cells communicate with each other at synapses and it may stimulate the development of new brain cells. ECT may flood the brain with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to be involved in conditions like depression and schizophrenia.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 .
During ECT , a small amount of electrical current is passed through the brain while the patient is under general anesthesia. This current causes a seizure that affects the entire brain, including the parts that control mood, appetite, and sleep.
If electroconvulsive therapy doesn’t work , the next step could be deep brain stimulation (DBS) — a depression treatment that is currently considered experimental.
Electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT ) is a highly effective treatment for depression. Research indicates that ECT can be significantly more effective than pharmacotherapy, with 50% to 60% of patients achieving rapid remission of depression after a course of ECT compared with 10% to 40% with pharmacotherapy/psychotherapy.
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.
People undergoing ECT need multiple treatments. The number needed to successfully treat severe depression can range from 4 to 20, but most people need a total of 6 to 12 treatments . The treatments are usually given three times a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Shortly after ECT , most patients have gaps in their memory for events that occurred close in time to the course of ECT , but the amnesia may extend back several months or years. Retrograde amnesia usually improves during the first few months after ECT .