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How does electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) help with depression?

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If your depression is severe enough, and drugs and psychotherapy aren’t helping, your doctor might recommend electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. This involves sending a small, painless electric current through your brain while you’re asleep under general anesthesia, which causes a brief seizure that can relieve the symptoms of depression.

ECT is also known as electroshock therapy. It has a controversial history but is now considered an effective treatment for depression.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: “Managing Depressive Symptoms in Substance Abuse Clients During Early Recovery.”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Depression.”

The Mayo Clinic: “Depression (major depressive disorder).”

Armstrong, C. , May 2011. American Family Physician

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Depression.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on January 20, 2017

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: “Managing Depressive Symptoms in Substance Abuse Clients During Early Recovery.”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Depression.”

The Mayo Clinic: “Depression (major depressive disorder).”

Armstrong, C. , May 2011. American Family Physician

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Depression.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on January 20, 2017

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How is modern electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) performed?

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