What ECT means and why it is executed

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure performed under general anesthesia, in which a small electric current passes through the brain and intentionally causes a short seizure. ECT can cause changes in the chemistry of the brain and quickly reverse the symptoms of certain mental health conditions. This procedure is often performed when all other treatments fail to heal the mental state. Over the past few years, the procedure has been safer and less traumatic because the current is flowing in a controlled setting with minimal risk.

Why is ECT done?

ECT It has been shown to improve mental health status immediately and significantly. This procedure is used when most other treatments fail. ECT It is currently used for the following treatments:

  1. Treatment-resistant depression: Severe depression with no improvement with medication.
  2. Depression: This is characterized by separation from reality, refusal to eat, and wanting to commit suicide.
  3. Severe mania: It is characterized by a state of mind of excitement and hyperactivity. It is also considered a subset of bipolar disorder.
  4. Catatonia: This is characterized by a lack of movement and speech, apart from other symptoms. It may also be associated with schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
  5. The excitement and aggression of people with dementia is difficult to manage and treat and adversely affects their quality of life.

ECT It is also considered an appropriate treatment option if:

  • During pregnancy, administration of the drug can harm the foetation inside.
  • For those who like ECT Than other treatments.
  • Adults who cannot tolerate the side effects of the drug.

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What are the risks associated with ECT?

ECT Although usually considered safe, some of the common risks associated with the procedure are:

  1. amnesia: You can develop retrograde amnesia and have a hard time remembering what happened just before treatment or months or years ago. Also, it can be difficult to remember the treatment. However, despite these, amnesia has been seen to improve within weeks to months after treatment.
  2. confusion: Confusion is a common risk if you are old. Immediately after treatment, you may be confused by your surroundings. This usually lasts minutes to hours after treatment. In rare cases, it has been reported that the state of confusion lasted for several days.
  3. Medical complications: Certain other complications, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, may be observed. In rare cases, serious heart problems are also observed.

How to prepare for ECT?

The first time you take this procedure, your doctor will fully evaluate you. A complete evaluation includes:

  1. Medical history
  2. Psychiatric evaluation
  3. Physical examination
  4. Blood test
  5. ECG (ECG)
  6. Discussion of anesthesia and associated risks


The· ECT The procedure itself takes about 5-10 minutes. You can add time to this for preparation and recovery. This procedure can be performed as an inpatient or outpatient procedure.

Before the procedure

To prepare for ECT, You need to perform the following steps:

  • General anesthesia: Your doctor may provide you with a list of what you can and cannot eat a few days before the procedure. They also advise avoiding food and water after midnight on the treatment day.
    • Physical examination: They also undergo a brief physical examination to assess the health of important organs, especially the heart and lungs.
    • Vein line (IV): An intravenous tube is inserted into the arm to administer medication or fluid.
    • Head electrode pad: The electrode pads are placed on the head to carry the current.
    • Medicine and anesthesia

Administer anesthetics and muscle relaxants via the IV line to reduce unconsciousness and minimize seizures and injuries. In addition, you may receive other medications depending on your health.

During the procedure

  1. apparatus
    1. A sphygmomanometer cuff is placed around one ankle to prevent muscle relaxants from reaching the foot. Your doctor will monitor seizure activity from that foot and assess the amount of current delivered.
    2. Vitals such as brain activity, heart, blood pressure and lungs are closely and continuously monitored.
    3. Oxygen is supplied through the oxygen mask.
    4. A mouthguard is also provided to protect the tongue and teeth from injury.
  2. Seizure induction

When anesthetized, the doctor sends a small electric current through the electrodes to the brain, causing a seizure for about 60 seconds. Thanks to anesthetics and muscle relaxants, you may not even notice an oncoming seizure, except on one leg being monitored. EEG (EEG) records your brain activity. Brain activity rapidly increases, weakens, and indicates that the seizure has ended, triggered by electrical current.

After a few minutes, the anesthetic and muscle relaxant are worn down and taken to the recovery room where they are continuously monitored until they are fully recovered.

When you wake up, you may experience short moments of turmoil that disappear over time.


ECT It can be given 2-3 times a week for 3-4 weeks.Number of ECT The steps you need to take depend primarily on the severity of the condition.


Many patients observe significant improvement after the 4th or 6th time ECT procedure. It will take more time for a complete improvement.No one is sure how to do it yet ECT It has been reported that the chemistry of the brain has changed after the onset of seizures, as it is effective and how it can help treat various mental health conditions such as severe depression. In addition, each seizure builds on the changes in brain chemistry achieved in the previous session and eventually becomes an improved position towards the end of the entire course of treatment.

The treatment does not end here, so you have to continue the medication and it is probably more mild ECT Future steps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does ECT work?

The method is not clear ECT Works, some reports ECT Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine can flood the brain and help restore it from mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia.

How can I get home after ECT treatment?

Your family will be asked to take you home and help you with your daily activities until the confusion and haze disappear.

How long does it take to recover from the ECT procedure?

The procedure itself takes about 5-10 minutes and wakes up as soon as the anesthesia is cut off. However, due to the anesthesia, a lot of time is spent preparing for the procedure and recovery. After regaining consciousness, you may feel moody and vague at first, but after a few hours you can resume normal activity.

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