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Links to our Depression Support Group & Information

Depression Introduction Causes Of Depression Symptoms of Depression Depression And Other Illnesses
Treatment Of Depression Getting Help for Depression Depression in the Elderly Depression in Children
Depression in Women Types of Depression Diagnosis Evaluation and Treatment Medications for Depression
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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Depression

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains one of the most effective yet most stigmatized treatments for depression. Eighty to ninety percent of people with severe depression improve dramatically with ECT. ECT involves producing a seizure in the brain of a patient under general anesthesia by applying electrical stimulation to the brain through electrodes placed on the scalp. Repeated treatments are necessary to achieve the most complete antidepressant response. Memory loss and other cognitive problems are common, yet typically short-lived side effects of ECT. Although some people report lasting difficulties, modern advances in ECT technique have greatly reduced the side effects of this treatment compared to earlier decades. Research on ECT has found that the dose of electricity applied and the placement of electrodes (unilateral or bilateral) can influence the degree of depression relief and the severity of side effects.

A current research question is how best to maintain the benefits of ECT over time. Although ECT can be very effective for relieving acute depression, there is a high rate of relapse when the treatments are discontinued.

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