Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - About ECT
What is ECT?
ECT is a treatment for some mental illnesses. ECT is when electrical currents are passed through your brain to cause seizures or fits. There are 2 types of ECT:
- Bilateral ECT - when the current is passed through both sides of your head.
- Unilateral ECT - when the current is on only one side.
Before you get ECT, doctors will give you muscle-relaxing medicine. You will have a general anaesthetic. This means you will be asleep during the treatment.
Doctors are not sure how ECT works, but they think that ECT changes the way your ‘chemical messengers’ work in the brain. It is thought that ECT can make these chemicals work better in your brain. ECT may cause new cells and nerve pathways to grow in your brain. This can sometimes help treat symptoms of severe depression.
You often get short courses of ECT treatment of about 6-12 sessions.
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