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A 28-year-old member asked:

Are there risks of electroconvulsive therapy?

6 doctor answers17 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Fox
Psychiatry 14 years experience
Several risks: Anesthesia carries a risk including allergy and cardiac arrest but no more so than any other procedure. Ect risks include headache, short term disorientation, and memory impairment. This may be mitigated by electrode placement. Right unilateral has very little memory impairment & recovery is quicker. Some degree of memory loss is common with bilateral placement & may be significant.
Dr. Edward Smith
Neurosurgery 54 years experience
Yes: Although electroconvulsive therapy is generally performed under general anesthetic, the brain may still be damaged. In fact memory loss is a common side-effect. Other cognitive changes may occur.
Dr. Ernest Bordini
Clinical Psychology 32 years experience
Yes -memory loss: In addition to the anesthesia risk, there is risk of memory loss some of which may clear with time, but for a small percentage of patients my actually deteriorate after some early recovery. Since many centers do right-sided memory loss, the spatial memory difficulties can be harder to notice - and many more difficulties are noted on neuropsychological than basic neuro testing. Results vary.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
ECT: Some are confusion, memory loss & physical such as nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle spasms, increase heart rate/blood pressure.
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Clinical Psychology 30 years experience
There are a few : The most common risks or side effects that could occur with ECT are headache, upset stomach, and muscle aches. Some people may also experience minor memory problems, especially of events or new learning that took place around the time of the treatment (or just after it). These difficulties are usually brief. Etc has been shown to be quite effective in treating severe depression and other symptoms.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
ECT: Some are confusion, memory loss & physical such as nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle spasms, increase heart rate/blood pressure.

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A 40-year-old member asked:

What is electroconvulsive therapy?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Internal Medicine 17 years experience
Resetting brain: Ect is a controlled therapy in which electrical shocks are introduced into both temples to "reset' the brain. A brief seizure is induced to reset the brain. The hope is that the neurotransmitters in the brain will be released in the right ratios to "fix" depression.

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Last updated Oct 5, 2017

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