Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) is a treatment which induces therapeutic seizures so as to treat psychiatric disorders.
The treatment is given under a general anaesthetic using muscle relaxants, so that patient's muscles only twitch slightly.
ECT is mainly used if a patient has severe life threatening Psychiatric disorders and have not responded to medication . It is also used if the patient is experiencing a manic or psychotic episode which is severe or is lasting a long time or are catatonic (staying frozen in one position for a long time or repeating the same movement for no obvious reason or being extremely restless, unrelated to medication. It may also be used when it is important to have an immediate effect for example, because the patient is so depressed that patients are unable to eat or drink, and are in danger of kidney failure.
ECT is known to change the patterns of blood flow in the brain and also change the way energy is used in parts of the brain that are thought to be involved and have lead to depression. It may cause changes in brain chemistry, although how these are related to symptoms is not understood.
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