What is an E.C.T?
Electroconvulsive shock therapy involves passage of small amount of
electric current for a very short duration across the brain, which leads
If current is passed through brain does it not cause burn /harm
to the brain?
in E.C.T as small as 25 Joules of electric current
is passed through the brain. In comparison, in case of a heart failure
due to rhythm disturbances, as much as 200-300 joules are passed through
Numerous studies have demonstrated the safety of the procedure. In fact
scientific studies have shown that patients who have received upto 100
ECTs in their lifetimes have not had any long term side effect or
Is it not an old /out dated treatment?
Yes it is old treatment, 50 years old, and has still survived in
medical field as a useful form of therapy, but it is not outdated. It is
still one of the effective and widely used treatments in India.
But it must be used for very serious cases. Only for very
seriously mad patients when drugs stop acting?
No, more than the MAD people it is for SAD people It can be very
effective to lift up Depression .It can be used as the treatment of 1st
choice in some illnesses e.g. Depressive & Catatonic stupor.
It must be given only to very young & healthy people who
can bear the shock.
No, in fact, it can be given to old patients and pregnant women also.
These people are more prone for side effects of drugs so E.C.T is much
safer. It poses no danger to a pregnant woman.
So can a single shock treatment cure me from my illness?
No. The way we have a course of antibiotics for 5-7 days similarly ECT
is also administered as a course of 6-8 sessions.
What are the side effects of E.C.T?
Saying NONE will be wrong, but side effects are much less compared to
the useful effects. The commonly observed side effects include:
- » Headache
- » Bodyache.
- » Forgetfulness (which is not permanent ) which remain for
Months only & memory is normal after that.