Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure during which
brief electrical stimulation to the brain produces a reaction that is like a
seizure. ECT is used to treat severe depression or other psychiatric and
neurological conditions, such as schizophrenia.
It is not known
exactly how ECT helps depression. But it probably works by altering brain
chemicals. ECT may be used when other treatments such as psychotherapy and
antidepressant medicines have not worked.
Side effects include short-term memory loss, headaches, muscle pain, and
nausea. Some people report that they have long-term memory loss after
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry