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Depression – ECT Treatments

March 1, 2022


Let’s talk about some other medical but non-pharmacological forms of treatment – meaning things that your medical doctor or the psychiatrist might recommend, but that are not in the form of an actual pill that a person would take. One of the treatments that’s medically offered for depression is called electroconvulsive therapy or for short known as ECT. ECT works by applying a small amount of electric current to the brain while a person is obviously under anesthesia in a controlled setting to induce a seizure, which is sort of an electrical overactivity of the brain. This is a treatment that has been around for a while and has been refined over the years in terms of its safety profile. From a data perspective, ECT does seem to help a lot of people who are struggling with severe depression, but from a practical perspective it is often reserved for the more severe cases of depression. People who have tried lots of other interventions (for example: therapy, a number of medications) and nothing seems to be helping them and they are in a very severe state (for example: suicidal or not eating and losing dangerous amounts of weight, having psychotic symptoms like they’re hearing sounds or voices, losing touch with reality.) In those cases, it might be considered. Its use is restricted because A. it’s not a practical form of treatment – it requires going under anesthesia several times a week for usually about four weeks or so. And B. there are some significant side effects that have to be considered. This is something to talk with your doctor about in terms of the full list.

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