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A 33-year-old member asked:

what can electroconvulsive therapy (ect) do for the patient who recieves it?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Byron Law-Yone
Psychiatry 55 years experience
Treat depression: Ect is a type of treatment usually provided to treat major depression.It can be life saving.
Dr. Ravi Chand
Psychiatry 26 years experience
ECT: Is highly safe and effective for major depression bipolar disorders severe psychosis catatonia dementia with depression or mania etc.

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A 24-year-old member asked:

Is electroconvulsive therapy (ect) effective?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Anthony Mosley
Neurology 24 years experience
Yes: Can be very effective for depression, but it is of course a fairly drastic measure with adverse effects.
CA
A 23-year-old member asked:

Is there an ethics of electroconvulsive therapy?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Fox
Psychiatry 14 years experience
Yes: Every physician takes an oath: "first, do no harm". Ect is traditionally reserved for the most severe and intractable forms of psychiatric illness and is most effective in treating depression. Patients with certain medical conditions are excluded (including heart problems among others) and every patient is given informed consent where the benefits and risks of treatment are explained.
CA
A 38-year-old member asked:

What are the usual effects of electroconvulsive therapy?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Fox
Psychiatry 14 years experience
Positive & Negative: Ect is reserved for the most severe cases. ~ 60% will go into remission, ~20% will respond some, & ~20% will not improve. 50% will relapse in 6mos. Most common immediate side effect is headache. Memory impairment is the most serious side effect but is mitigated by electrode placement. Right unilateral (RUL) is as effective as traditional bilateral placement, but memory is much less affected.
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.
CA
A 42-year-old member asked:

Which conditions does electroconvulsive therapy treat?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Fox
Psychiatry 14 years experience
Depression + more: Ect is the most potent treatment for both bipolar and major depression. Persons with bipolar depression respond more rapidly, requiring about 1/2 as many treatments to completely improve. ~60% of depressed individuals who undergo ECT remit. 50% will relapse in 6mos, though. Ect is used to treat severe psychotic illness but is less effective. There is research into treating Parkinson's with it.

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Last updated Dec 9, 2013

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