ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) is a treatment that involves sending an electric current through the brain to trigger an epileptic seizure to relieve the symptoms of some mental health problems. The treatment is given under the supervision of a neurologist who gives a general anesthetic during the procedure. He also uses muscle relaxants, so that your muscles only twitch slightly, and your body does not convulse during the seizure. ECT therapy seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful. ECT may be a good treatment option when medications aren't tolerated or other forms of therapy haven't worked. ECT treatment is generally administered in the morning, before breakfast. Prior to the actual treatment, the patient is given general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. Electrodes are then attached to the patients scalp and an electric current is applied which causes a brief convulsion. Minutes later, the patient wakes up confused and without memory of events surrounding the treatment. This treatment is usually repeated three times a week for approximately one month. The number of treatments varies from six to twelve. It is often recommended that the patient maintain a regimen of medication, after the ECT treatments, to reduce the chance of relapse. Modern ECT is a safe procedure, which is used to treat the most severe forms of depression and severe manic symptoms.
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