(Therapy, Electroconvulsive; ECT)
DefinitionElectroconvulsive therapy (ECT) sends an electronic current through the brain. This current causes brief seizure activity. This causes changes in brain chemistry. ECT can reduce symptoms associated several mental health conditions.
|During ECT, an electronic current is delivered to the brain.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for ProcedureECT is commonly used to treat:
- Severe depression that does not respond to medication or that causes serious symptoms, like psychosis and suicidal thoughts
- Severe mania that does not respond to medication
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:
- Short-term changes in blood pressure and heart rate
- Short-term abnormal heart rate
- Muscle aches or soreness
- Cognitive impairment, such as problems with thinking and memory, usually go away after a couple of weeks. In some cases, memory problems may last for several months.
- Having a history of heart problems, stroke , or high blood pressure
- Pregnancy—this form of therapy may increase the risk of complications in the fetus
- Not responding well to medication
- Increased age