ECT is one of many options for the treatment of mental illness. In many cases, ECT is effective in treating patients who are medication resistant, chronically depressed, or experiencing symptoms, such as delusions and suicidal thoughts.
What to Expect
ECT involves a series of treatments, in which a small amount of electricity is used to produce a generalized seizure in the brain. These seizures are produced under carefully controlled circumstances while you are under anesthesia.
You will need to have a health history and physical assessment to determine if you are healthy enough to have ECT. An EKG, X-ray, blood work, recent medical history, physical, and additional medical tests may be required.
ECT is given under general anesthesia, and performed by a treatment team including a psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and nursing staff. During the procedure, a small amount of electrical current is sent to the brain. The procedure lasts about 10-15 minutes and a minimum one hour of recovery time is required, however, it may be longer in some instances.
Some common side effects after an ECT treatment include: