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What Is ECT?

Question:

My best friends Mum has been admitted into a Mental Health Hospital. There hasn’t been any improvement and they are talking about “Electric Shock Treatment”. Could you please help me with any information on this as myself and my friend have no idea what it involves and what it will do.

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Answer:

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) is a psychiatric treatment for persons with very severe mental disorders that have proven unresponsive to other forms of treatment (typically multiple attempts to treat with medications of various types). ECT involves a Psychiatrist (a highly trained medical doctor specializing in the treatment of mental disorders) sending an electric current through the (sedated) patient’s brain under very controlled conditions. This doesn’t sound too good, I know, unless you consider that this treatment often has a remarkable therapeutic effect when no other known form of treatment can help. ECT patients often experience memory loss for the events that happened near in time to their treatments, but to my knowledge, patient’s ability to remember new information thereafter is not substantially affected. ECT is not used casually, but rather only when more conventional treatments have failed. I hope this information proves helpful.

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