Ect Services | Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) | Shock Therapy

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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), or “shock therapy,” is a medical treatment that uses electrical stimulation to cause controlled seizures.

The purpose of ECT is to treat severe depression and psychiatric disorders. These treatments can also be used for other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and catatonia.

How does electroconvulsive therapy work?

In ECT, a small amount of electricity is passed through the brain to induce a seizure. It does not cause pain because it only causes a temporary disruption in the normal function of the neurons where this is applied.

What are its effects?

ECT has been around for a long time and has consistently proven effective for many mental health conditions. The effects of ECT are temporary, so it has to be performed frequently. Despite the old-school image of ECT, anesthesia prevents pain, and muscle paralysis is only used when necessary.

Other types of treatment use electricity for their effect on the brain, but ECT uses significantly less electricity than Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and is considered more effective.

Who uses ECT?

ECT is used primarily to treat severe mental disorders that do not respond to other treatments but can also be used for specific physical conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. It is most beneficial when these conditions are treated early in their development.

ECT is also used in an inpatient or outpatient basis for:

  • Treatment of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and catatonia.
  • Epilepsy/seizures
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Other physical conditions that are resistant to medication or other therapies.
  • It is not used in cases where seizures can be induced by other means, or the patient is at risk for injuries due to falls during bouts.
  • During the first stage of labor
  • Acute manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder
  • It can also be used as a treatment for cluster headaches.

There are different types of ECT. Each one has its settings and protocols that allow it to be performed quickly and effectively.

How is treatment resistant depression addressed?

There are two types of ECT: unilateral and bilateral. During a treatment, electrodes will be applied to either side of the head (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral). It causes seizures in less than 60 seconds.

Both types of ECT use anesthesia and muscle paralysis, but bilateral ECT uses a higher electrical dosage and has a more significant sedative effect.

ECT is usually performed in an operating room or similar environment where vital signs can easily be monitored. In most cases, the patient will receive anesthesia for comfort and safety before the treatment. The effects of ECT are temporary, so it has to be performed frequently.

It is important to note that anesthesia and muscle paralysis protect the patient from pain and prevent any injury due to a fall during a seizure.

Is it effective?

ECT works quickly, usually within a few days of treatment, and it has been shown to have long-lasting effects on some mental disorders such as major depression and schizophrenia.

Is it reversible?

Absolutely! Once the patient is stable, they can resume normal activities as soon as possible after treatment. The electrical stimulation does not cause any permanent damage to the brain and its neurons.

Are there any risks?

The most common risk of ECT is muscle ache and pain during and directly after treatment. In some cases, the muscle pain can last from several hours to several weeks.

In general, most people who receive ECT experience no adverse effects and feel better afterward. However, certain circumstances may require a patient to avoid receiving ECT:

  • It should not be used on cardiac pacemakers or other internal electrical devices such as metal implants.
  • It should not be used on any person who has a history of seizures that have been induced by other means or during the first stage of labor.
  • It should not be used on pregnant women until they are born and stabilized.

How to Prepare for ECT?

ECT is a very safe medical treatment that requires special preparation to ensure their comfort and safety.

The day before ECT, the patient should have nothing by mouth from midnight. They will also receive muscle relaxants and an anesthetic, and other medications to prepare them for the procedure.

Before receiving your first ECT treatment, you’ll need a comprehensive evaluation, which generally entails:

  • A physical examination.
  • Laboratory work includes blood counts, chemistry panel, and thyroid function tests.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG).

What to expect?

The patient will receive anesthesia and muscle relaxants during treatment to prevent any discomfort or injury during a seizure. They will also be connected to a heart rate monitor and blood pressure cuff. The treatment itself will last up to 10 seconds, during which the muscles of the neck will contract slightly due to the electrical current.

What happens after ECT?

After treatment, the patient is taken to recovery and monitored for several hours before being discharged home. They may feel tired and confused for a few hours after treatment, but they can resume normal activities as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for patients to feel slightly sleepy the day after ECT and experience muscle aches and pain.

What about side effects?

Post-ECT memory loss is common but temporary. After receiving multiple treatments, some people report having difficulty remembering names and events from the past. It is important to remember that these effects are transient and improve with time.

How Does ECT Benefit Patients with severe depression?

Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT services is used to treat people with mental disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and catatonia. Among these, schizophrenia is one of the most common psychiatric conditions treated with ECT services.

Schizophrenia disrupts a person’s ability to think clearly or express emotions usually. People who have it can experience delusions, hallucinations, and sometimes catatonia, a state of general immobility and unresponsiveness.

The disease changes the way people think, feel and behave. It can also affect people physically by making it difficult to sleep, causing them to speak little or avoid other activities such as work and socializing.

Other conditions ECT treatment is used to treat are major depression and catatonia. Catatonia is characterized by periods where the patient does not speak or react to outside stimuli. They may also become highly agitated or hold their entire body in awkward positions for extended periods, resulting in physical injury.

Schizophrenia, mania (the manic state of bipolar disorder), and severe depression cause changes to the brain that can be difficult to manage.

ECT is a medical procedure that uses electrical currents to help restore some of those functions and help treat patients with these chronic conditions.

What Results Can I Expect?

Not everyone responds well to ECT services; it depends on the severity of each case and how long they have had their symptoms.

Some patients only require six to 12 treatments; others need monthly therapies for several months. It all depends on what works best for them and how their body responds to treatment.

Maintenance ECT has proven successful in reducing the symptoms of many mental disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, catatonia, and manic depression. Not everyone responds well to ECT service; it depends on the severity of each case and how long they have had their symptoms.

Some patients only require six to 12 treatments; others need monthly therapies for several months. It all depends on what works best for them and how their body responds to treatment.

ECT has proven successful in reducing the symptoms of many mental disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, catatonia, and manic depression.

ECT is a very safe medical treatment that requires special preparation to ensure their comfort and safety.

Are there any alternatives?

ECT is a very effective treatment, but it is not. Other methods include Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), and Electroconvulsive Therapy using an ultra-brief pulse of current (CECT). These are used for specific conditions based on their degree of effectiveness.

If you or somebody you love is experiencing any mental illness, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You are not alone, and there are many support groups, organizations, and professionals that will be more than happy to assist you in every way possible.

Conclusion:

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental disorder, it’s essential to research and understand the treatment options available. ECT can be a beneficial tool in treating various mental health conditions, but it’s necessary to work with a doctor to determine if it’s the best option for you. There are other treatment options available, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and explore all of your options. ECT can be a safe and effective way to treat many mental disorders with the proper preparation and understanding.

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