Make an appointment »

About ECT

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered the treatment of choice for patients suffering from severe major depressive disorder that have either not responded to medications or have failed to tolerate medications as a result of various side effects.

  • Used in patients where response is needed quickly; for example, if patients are acutely suicidal, not eating or drinking, or patients with catatonia.
  • Employed in the treatment of individuals suffering from medication-resistant bipolar disorder (both mania and depression). It is also used in treating psychotic exacerbations, or medication-resistant psychosis in schizophrenia.
  • ECT has also been used in treating neuroleptic malignant syndrome and refractory Parkinson’s disease.
  • It is considered a safe treatment modality in pregnant women, in whom a number of medications may be associated with risk to the developing baby.

Misconceptions and facts

ECT is the most effective treatment for severe major depression & other severe mental illnesses with response rates (85% and above) exceeding medication management or psychotherapy.

Brain Damage
Extensive research has demonstrated no evidence that ECT leads to short or long term brain damage. Some individuals have received over 200 treatments with no evidence of any lasting harm.

Procedure Safety
The risk of mortality is 1 in 10,000 which is equivalent to minor surgical procedures under general anesthesia. ECT is routinely done as an outpatient procedure with patients returning home after spending a few hours recovering from anesthesia. The administration of muscle relaxants also prevents injuries and fractures.

Time to Response
ECT is the most rapid treatment available for depression and bipolar disorder.

The vast majority of ECT treatments are given voluntarily after obtaining informed consent. The patient undergoes a thorough screening to be determined appropriate for ECT.

Development of ECT
Significant improvements in the techniques (including muscle relaxants, short acting anesthetic agents, use of oxygen, close monitoring, better devices) have made ECT a much safer and more reliable treatment option.