Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Is ECT Therapy?

By Sandy Rutherforde

Electro convulsive treatment, or ECT therapy, is chosen for a small number of severe mental illnesses. Initially the treatment method was developed during the 1930s but it was broadly used in the 1950s and 60s for a lot of disorders. Today it is really very clear that this therapy must only be utilized in a small amount for really serious conditions.

The process of ECT therapy consists of a passing of electrical current through the individual's brain which results in an epileptic seizure and that's the reason why this treatment is called electro convulsive. The concept was formulated by noticing that in the earlier days people with depressive disorders or schizophrenia or individuals who had epilepsy, appeared to have felt much better right after having a seizure. Research was done and it determined that the effect is caused by the seizure as opposed to the electrical current.

This treatment procedure is performed with the direction of a consulting psychiatrist after anesthetizing the individual and in addition by offering muscle relaxers. At strategic areas on the skull of the affected individual the electrodes are positioned. Stimulation of the brain might occur on one or even both sides of the brain. This would depend solely on the respective person and this is known as bilateral or unilateral ECT therapy. The intensity of muscle spasms gets minimized as a result of the muscle relaxant. The exact course of this treatment depends entirely on the problem or the nature of the patient and the patient's reaction to it.

This particular treatment does involve a small amount of risk which comes with any procedure which includes an anesthetic. Some side effects of this therapy are tender muscles, headaches, confusion and queasiness.

An additional side effect is that many individuals encounter the issue of short term memory loss which might occur during the course of the therapy. But this continues for a few days or weeks. Despite this there are some individuals who have long term problems with their memory and it is found that it occurs mainly to those people who go through bilateral treatment rather than unilateral.

If this type of therapy is recommended to you by your psychiatrist then you have certain rights to learn several things before undergoing the treatment. These rights include full explanation of the process, the risks involved, the positives and negatives, the rewards, the right to a second opinion, the right to complain, the right to say no to the therapy, the representation by a friend or family member, legal guidance and so forth. Also there are certain things that a person should keep in mind before agreeing to the treatment. The therapy treats various mental illness and there's a temporary difficulty in short term memory experienced by the affected person.

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