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Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT, may be a viable option for consenting adult patients with severe depression who are not responding to anti-depressant medications. It is also sometimes used for patients diagnosed with psychosis, catatonia, or manic symptoms.
For full therapeutic benefit, several sessions of ECT, typically three per week, are required. Usually, a course of six to 12 treatments is required over two to four weeks.
Treatment most often begins with a hospital stay and continues after discharge until the recommended course is complete. Ongoing outpatient ECT treatment - once every one to two months - will prevent relapse.
During the procedure, the following occurs:
In the past, ECT had more severe side effects that caused many patients to reject it as a treatment option. In recent years, there have been many improvements in ECT. Temporary side effects of today’s ECT may include:
Memory and learning difficulties typically return to normal in several weeks. Our doctors use the latest unilateral stimulation techniques, which treat one side of the brain, to reduce memory loss
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia5501 Old York RoadPhiladelphia, PA 19141215-456-9070 Get Directions
“The results of ECT in treating severe depression are among the most positive treatment effects in all of medicine…. For the sake of the many patients with major depression and their families, it is time to bring ECT out of the shadows.” – 2001 editorial from the Journal of the American Medical Association
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