Frequently Asked Questions about  ECT

What is ECT?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a method used to treat various mood disorders by stimulating the brain through the use of a high electrical current to induce a therapeutic seizure.

How does ECT work?

ECT relies on creating a therapeutic seizure through the passage of electrical current through the brain. In ECT, electrical current is passed between two electrodes placed on the surface of the person’s head, which allows for some electricity to pass through the skull and to the brain causing a seizure. ECT may promote change in how the brain cells communicate with each other at the synaptic level and it may stimulate the development of new brain cells.

Are there any side effects?

Immediate side effects, which may last for an hour, include: Headaches, Nausea, Muscles Aches and Soreness, Disorientation, and Confusion. Patients may also develop short term memory problems.

What are the potential risks?

Patients may develop memory problems. Memories formed closer to the time of ECT are at a greater risk of being lost than those formed long before the ECT treatment. The ability to form new memories may also be impaired after an ECT treatment but usually makes a full recovery in a couple of weeks following treatment.