Does Electroconvulsive Therapy Work

It is estimated that 15% of American adults experience major depression in any given year. And for some of these persons, regular exercise, consistent and restful sleep, counseling, psychotherapy, and medication can improve depression symptoms. A counselor, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist may recommend Electroconvulsive Therapy for other patients who haven’t seen much success.

At Guided Grace, Family and Youth Services, we offer various types of therapies and techniques to help clients manage their depression. We keep abreast with the advancements aligned with these therapies, including Electroconvulsive Therapy, to provide the best care possible. In this post, we’ll discuss the effectiveness of Electroconvulsive Therapy.

What is Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) also known as Electric Shock Therapy, is a medical treatment in which electric currents stimulate the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. It is safe and painless and is usually administered by a team of medical experts, including an anesthesiologist, a psychiatrist, and a nurse.

How Effective is Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Electric Shock Therapy is typically used in instances where patients with mental health issues experience little to no success with antidepressants, counseling, therapy, at-home care, and alternative medicine like acupuncture. 

The procedure is highly effective in the treatment of major depression. In fact, it has been reported that up to 80% of patients with major depression experience significant relief. 

Patients with the following conditions will also yield positive results with Electroconvulsive Therapy:

  • Catatonia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Suicidal Thoughts

However, Electroconvulsive Therapy is not a one-time fix for these conditions; therefore, if you have undergone ECT, you may require additional treatments, counseling, and medications.

What are the Processes Involved Before Getting an ECT?

Firstly, your psychiatrist should discuss all treatment options with you and your family to ensure that everyone is on the same page. They should also go over what happens during the procedure and highlight the possible risks and side effects. 

Additionally, it is important that you receive a psychiatric assessment before undergoing an ECT. You will also be required to do a medical examination that should include a blood test, imaging tests on your brain, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) which assesses the state of your heart.

Finally, you must present written consent which gives the medical team the go-ahead. If you are unable to make a decision due to illness or impairment a court-appointed guardian may do so on your behalf.

What should You Expect During Electric Shock Therapy?

To start, you will be given anesthesia and a muscle relaxant so that you will be as comfortable as possible. The medical team will then attach electrodes to precise areas on your head to pass controlled electric currents to your brain. This stimulation will result in a seizure lasting 60 to 90 seconds. You will wake up on your own after the process. 

For ECT to be effective, you may require six to 12 sessions which may span over three or four weeks. The number of sessions will vary depending on how severe your symptoms are and how quickly you are responding to the treatment.

What Happens After an Electroconvulsive Therapy Session?

The healthcare team will let you stick around for observation. They will check your vital signs and look out for possible side effects caused by the anesthesia or the ECT.  You will feel fully alert within 10 to 15 minutes after waking up and should be able to walk around 30 minutes later.

Electric Shock Therapy Available in Saginaw, MI

Do you think you may be a candidate for Electroconvulsive Therapy? Consult the experts at Guided Grace, Family and Youth Services. We will conduct a thorough assessment to determine if it is ideal for you. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (989) 394-4428.

Written by invigo