March 27, 2017
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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

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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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015


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