Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is a treatment that is effective for patients with psychiatric disorders that have generally proven themselves to be treatment-resistant. ECT involves a series of electrical impulses being transmitted through the brain, in order to stimulate the neurons to normalise mood and functioning. ECT has proven to improve quality of life in both the short and long term. Patients can receive ECT as an inpatient or as an outpatient at various Akeso psychiatric hospitals.
ECT may be recommended by the treating psychiatrist in the following cases:
- Patients who suffer from severe depression and who have not responded to medication.
- Patients who have previously responded well to ECT.
- Patients whose life is in danger as a consequence of not eating or drinking as a result of a severe psychiatric condition that has not responded to other interventions.
- Patients with life-threatening depression and high suicidal ideation.
- Patients with other disorders such as severe mania and catatonia.
A series of six to 12 treatments is usually recommended. The procedure is performed under anaesthetic. The procedure is quick and, once completed, the patient is taken to a recovery room where they are monitored and given a chance to wake up, usually within ten minutes.
ECT is only part of the recovery process, which is supplemented by psychotherapy and chronic medication.
Despite the negative publicity, ECT is often the treatment of last resort and, as such, is the turnaround point for people who might otherwise have given up on their lives.