FAQs on Electro convulsive Therapy

Electro convulsive Therapy

Electro convulsive therapy is a type of treatment in which we pass electric pulse through temple of brain for less than a second Under general anesthesia. It has shown to improve few of psychiatric illness.

Nobody knowns how Electro-convulsive therapy brings about improvement in psychiatric or psychological illness. May theories are floated to explain improvement but nothing is concretely established yet.
Severe depression, bipolar disorder mania and depression, active suicidal patients, non-cooperative/or violent schizophrenia patients. non responding schizophrenia.
Patient needs to undergo pre anesthetic blood investigation, ECG & if require fitness from physician. Patient are kept without food and water for 8 hrs. separate consent is taken for Electroconvulsive therapy.
Nothing is rules out in procedure but it is very rare that such event could happen.

The immediate side effects of the procedure may include:

  • Headaches, which are commonly relieved with medication.
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches: These tend to occur in the first and second treatments and tend to resolve thereafter.
  • Disorientation and confusion: Some patients develop memory problems associated with ECT. Memories developed around the time of ECT have a greater chance of not being recalled while those formed long before ECT generally are not altered. The ability to form new memories can be impaired during and after an acute series of ECT treatments but this ability makes a full recovery in about 2 weeks from the last treatment.
IV is placed in the arm. the patient receives a brief-acting aesthetic, which puts the patient to sleep for approximately 5 minutes. A muscle relaxant is given shortly after the anaesthesia to loosen the patient’s muscles so that there are no motor convulsions during the therapeutic seizure. Patients are not awake for the actual seizure as they are under anaesthesia. The seizure itself tends to last 20 to 60 seconds. Patients wake up several minutes after the seizure stops. They stay until blood pressure and alertness have returned to normal, which usually takes about 20 minutes. Patient can be gives sips of waters after 1hr. if patient do not have vomiting sensations, he can consume normal food.
An ECT session takes about 30 min. patient can move normally after one or two hrs. Patient can be gives sips of waters after 1hr. if patient do not have vomiting sensations, he can consume normal food.

Generally, ECT is given three times a week for a total of eight to twelve sessions. Some patients may need more or fewer treatments.
A single ECT session is usually one hour long. This covers the time spent in the treatment room (about 15-20 minutes) as well as the time spent in the recovery room (approximately 20-30 minutes).

False information is spread about ECT from movies and old methods of ECT. Movies shows ECT given to conscious patients many times in a day. Its dramatization make it look scary. It was once used by Nazis as experimental method for brainwashing. All these data make it look barbaric. current use of ECT is for therapeutic purpose under general anaesthesia. Beside electric pulse passed is for less than second as opposed to many minutes shown in movies. Standard international protocol of twice or thrice weekly is mostly adhered by all psychiatrist. pre aesthetic check-up and fasting make it one of safe alternative treatment for many patients.

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Psychiatrist in Nagpur, Sakkardara – Dr. Pawan Adatia