Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an alternative treatment for depression and certain mental illnesses which don’t respond to conventional therapies. Therefore, people struggling with severe depressive disorders without responding to psychotherapy or large doses of antidepressants may find it useful.
Administration of ECT
Usually, medical professionals perform ECTs administration in safe hospital environments. Also, the presence of a psychiatrist, including an anesthesiologist, may supervise the therapy accompanied by ECT trained nurses.
Usually, a patient is gently anesthetized and kept calm to reduce pain or discomfort. Once the procedure starts, it creates some seizure in the brain that lasts for a few minutes. One physical observation among patients includes wriggling of their toes.
After some minutes, the patient wakes up, and then the medical personnel performs thorough checkups before being discharged or allowed to remain in the hospital for some time. Only some short-term side effects may take place with rare risky side effects.
Does ECT Cure Depression?
ECT is useful for both acute depression treatment and also maintenance treatment. Although there are many controversies about its use, it appears to be a safe and helpful treatment. Health providers may sometimes combine it with other therapies to improve depression symptoms and other psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.
The only concern that some psychiatrists have with ECT is that while it may relieve depressive symptoms, it could also aggravate anxiety symptoms, obsessive thoughts, and panic attacks.
Side Effects of ECT
Common side effects that last for a short period include:
- muscle aches
However, retrograde amnesia symptoms may occur and last longer than these side effects but hardly persists. The other side effect includes long-term cognitive changes associated with memory loss, especially recent events.
Usually, doctors may ask memory questions after patients complete ECT procedures to evaluate their degree of cognitive loss.
Potential severe side effects may include cardiac pulmonary and brain-related issues. Those with coronary artery disorders have increased risks of cardiac arrest and irregular heart rhythms. Therefore, they should consult a cardiologist before the ECT procedure.
Overall, patients should be aware of these potential risks and the benefits of ECTs before performing the treatment.
Despite the public perceiving ECT as dangerous and obsolete, using it based on chosen standards can make it a reasonably safe means of managing severe depression. Indeed, health providers need to weigh the risk of ECT against severe depression, which never responds to treatment, such as suicide.
Therefore, if other treatment methods such as medications and psychotherapy are ineffective, then the quality of an individual’s life is crucial while considering this treatment.
Final Thoughts from the Recover
The public has negative views about ECT procedures. However, people should understand that the only time medical practitioners apply it is when psychotherapy processes and drugs are ineffective for severe depression, including other psychiatric conditions.
Therefore, for carefully chosen people, ECT is a safe and highly effective procedure in relieving distressing psychiatric disorders. If you want to know whether ECT is a safe procedure for your needs, ensure to inquire on available rehab centers near you.