What does electrotherapy do to the brain?

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental health conditions.

Does shock therapy damage the brain?

Despite many scientific and governmental authorities having concluded that ECT does not cause brain damage, there is significant evidence that ECT has indeed caused brain damage in some patients, both historically and recently, and evidence that it always causes some form or degree of brain damage.

What does electro shock do to the brain?

It may promote changes in how brain cells communicate with each other at synapses and it may stimulate the development of new brain cells. ECT may flood the brain with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to be involved in conditions like depression and schizophrenia.

What are the negative side effects of ECT?

The most common side effects of ECT on the day of treatment include nausea, headache, fatigue, confusion, and slight memory loss, which may last minutes to hours. These risks must be balanced with the consequences of ineffectively treated severe psychiatric disorders.

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Can ECT make you worse?

ECT may have a role in people who have comorbid depression and anxiety. The concern of some psychiatrists is that while ECT may help with depressive symptoms, it could worsen anxiety symptoms, including obsessional thoughts or panic attacks.

Does ECT lower IQ?

However, former patients have publicly testified that ECT can result in a very significant (>30 point) permanent decrement in IQ score (Food and Drug Administration, 1982; Andre, 2001; Cott, 2005: p.

Does ECT alter brain structure?

These conditions are not approached during ECT. Other findings indicate that the passage of electricity, thermal effects, and the transient disruption of the blood-brain barrier during ECS do not result in structural brain damage. Conclusions: There is no credible evidence that ECT causes structural brain damage.

Does ECT change your personality?

ECT does not change a person’s personality, nor is it designed to treat those with just primary “personality disorders.” ECT can cause transient short-term memory — or new learning — impairment during a course of ECT, which fully reverses usually within one to four weeks after an acute course is stopped.

Does ECT cause memory loss?

Many people experience memory loss after having ECT. Some people find this only lasts for a short time and their memories gradually return as they recover from ECT.

Do they shave your head for ECT?

During surgery prep, you’ll have your head shaved. You may be kept unconscious throughout brain surgery with general anesthesia or stay awake with a local anesthetic used on your scalp. A sturdy frame will hold your head to prevent movement during surgery.

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Who is ECT Not recommended for?

Not everyone is a candidate for treatment even if they believe ECT could help them. For example, children under age eleven cannot undergo ECT for mental health disorders. People with heart conditions and people who cannot handle short-acting sedatives or muscle relaxers should not undergo ECT treatments.

What does ECT feel like?

On the days of an ECT treatment, some people experience nausea, headache, jaw pain or muscle ache. These generally can be treated with medications. Medical complications. As with any type of medical procedure, especially one that involves anesthesia, there are risks of medical complications.

Can ECT cause dementia?

Although ECT can cause transient memory problems, the new findings show that the treatment “does not cause dementia,” author Martin Balslev Jørgensen, DMSc, professor of clinical psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, told Medscape Medical News.

Is ECT worth the risk?

Most practitioners do not consider referral for ECT until many months or years of medication and other therapy without results. However, it can be a safe and effective, low-risk option for individuals experiencing a variety of mental-health and brain-related disorders.

How much does ECT cost?

ECT treatments cost $300 to $1,000 per treatment, with an initial course requiring five to 15 treatments followed by 10 to 20 maintenance treatments per year, the researchers noted. That means the annual cost can be more than $10,000, compared with a cost of several hundred dollars for many antidepressant medications.

How long do the benefits of ECT last?

There is considerable variability in the trajectories, but most commonly there is progressive symptomatic improvement within the first week and complete remission within 3 to 4 weeks.

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