What is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

ECT is a form of brain stimulation where a brief electric current is administered to the brain to induce a controlled seizure while the patient is under general anesthesia. 

Because of the side effects, including memory loss and disorientation, ECT is most commonly used in severe cases of depression or in treatment-resistant depression. It can also be used to treat bipolar disorder and symptoms of schizophrenia. Though researchers don’t know exactly how ECT works, the treatment is thought to spark electrical activity among brain cells and change the chemical balance in areas of the brain which play an important part in mood regulation. ECT treatment usually consists of 6-12 ECT sessions.

Read more about ECT in this step-by-step guide: All you need to know about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – Liberating modern ECT from old-fashioned stereotypes

Related questions

Does tDCS work?

tDCS is about as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy when it comes to treating depression. Some research studies show that antidepressants are

What is tDCS?

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological and painless form of brain stimulation. It’s used to treat depression and chronic pain

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