Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Peter J. Panzarino Jr., MD, FAPA
Peter J. Panzarino, Jr., MD, is the former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Leslie J. Schoenfield, MD, PhD
Dr. Schoenfield served as associate professor of medicine and consultant in gastroenterology on the faculty of the Mayo Clinic for seven years. He became a professor of medicine in residence at UCLA from 1972 to 1999 (now emeritus). He was the director of gastroenterology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for 25 years, where he received the chief resident's teaching award, the president's award, and the pioneer of medicine award.
What is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?
During the ECT procedure, an electric current is passed through the patient's brain to produce controlled convulsions (seizures).
Why is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) performed?
ECT is a useful psychiatric therapy for certain patients with mental disorders, such as significant depression, particularly for those who cannot take or are not responding to antidepressants, suffer from severe depression, or are at a high risk for suicide. ECT often is effective in cases where antidepressant medications do not provide sufficient relief of symptoms.
How does electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) work?
Electroconvulsive therapy is a medical procedure that probably works by a massive neurochemical release in the brain due to the controlled seizure. Highly effective, ECT relieves depression within one to two weeks after beginning treatments. After a course of ECT, some patients will continue to have maintenance ECT, while others will return to or continue antidepressant medications.
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