Electroconvulsive therapy is often

How often is ECT used today?

In the United States, ECT treatments are generally given two to three times weekly for three to four weeks — for a total of six to 12 treatments. Some doctors use a newer technique called right unilateral ultrabrief pulse electroconvulsive therapy that’s done daily on weekdays.

What are the long term side effects of ECT?

But some people experience more long-lasting or permanent memory loss , including losing personal memories or forgetting information they need to continue in their career or make sense of their personal relationships. Some people also find they have difficulty remembering new information from after they’ve had ECT.

How does electroconvulsive therapy ECT reduce depressive symptoms?

How Electroconvulsive Therapy Works. With ECT , an electrical stimulation is delivered to the brain and causes a seizure. For reasons that doctors don’t completely understand, this seizure helps relieve the symptoms of depression . ECT does not cause any structural damage to the brain.

How does ECT work on the brain?

ECT , given to depressed patients under anesthesia and after taking a muscle relaxer, sends electrical pulses to the brain through electrodes applied to the head. The electrical stimulation triggers a seizure.

Can ECT make you worse?

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.

Does ECT change your personality?

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.

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Does ECT kill brain cells?

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.

What is the maximum number of ECT treatments?

Typically, ECT (whether inpatient or outpatient) is given two to three times a week for a total of six to twelve sessions. Some patients may need more or fewer treatments . These sessions improve depression in 70 to 90 percent of patients, a response rate much higher than that of antidepressant drugs.

What is the success rate of ECT?

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.

Does ECT work for anxiety?

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 .

What to expect after ECT?

When you awaken, you may experience a period of disorientation lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Headaches, jaw pain, and muscle soreness may occur. ECT requires a series of treatments, often initiated two to three times a week for a few weeks and then the frequency is tapered down.

Who is a good candidate for ECT?

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).

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Does memory come back after ECT?

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 .

What happens when ECT doesn’t work?

If electroconvulsive therapy doesn’t work , the next step could be deep brain stimulation (DBS) — a depression treatment that is currently considered experimental.

How long do the effects of ECT last?

We know that depressed patients often begin to respond after the first treatment and progress to wellness with 6 to 12 treatments. There is considerable variability in the trajectories, but most commonly there is progressive symptomatic improvement within the first week and complete remission within 3 to 4 weeks .

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