What Is It Like To Have Electroconvulsive Therapy

What Is It Like To Have Electroconvulsive Therapy.

When medication fails to ease the symptoms of clinical depression, there are other options to try. With ECT, an electric current is briefly applied through the scalp to the brain, inducing a seizure. The least invasive of these brain stimulation techniques is called transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a magnetic field is created by a device held above the head, causing a weak electrical signal to be applied to the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that is connected to mood. Vagus nerve stimulation is another treatment for depression that uses a surgically implanted pacemaker-like device that electrically stimulates a nerve that runs up the neck into the brain. The nerve is called the vagus nerve.

ECT is among the safest and most effective treatments, as electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp and a finely controlled electric current is applied while the patient is under general anesthesia. The current causes a brief seizure in the brain. It is generally used when severe depression is unresponsive to other forms of therapy. Or it might be used when patients pose a severe threat to themselves or others and it is too dangerous to wait until medications take effect.

Although ECT has been used since the 1940s and 1950s, it remains misunderstood by the general public. Many of the procedure’s risks and side effects are related to the misuse of equipment, incorrect administration, or improperly trained staff. This article as told by Lauren Arnold, a patient who had undergone the treatment. Credit: WebMD.

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