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What happens during electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat bipolar disorder?

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Before ECT treatment, a person is given a muscle relaxant and put under general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed on the patient's scalp, and an electric current is applied that causes a brief seizure. Because the muscles are relaxed, the seizure will usually be limited to slight movement of the hands and feet. The patient is carefully monitored during the treatment. The patient awakens minutes later, does not remember the treatment, and may be briefly confused.

SOURCES:

National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Women's Studies."

Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.

MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."

American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 18, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Women's Studies."

Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.

MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."

American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 18, 2019

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What happens during electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat bipolar disorder?

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