Electroconvulsive Therapy Patient Experience


How many volts are used in electroconvulsive therapy?

Typically, 70 to 120 volts are applied externally to the patient’s head, resulting in approximately 800 milliamperes of direct current passing through the brain, for a duration of 100 milliseconds to 6 seconds, either from temple to temple (bilateral ECT) or from front to back of one side of the head (unilateral ECT).

What should you not do before ECT?

Before Your Procedure Because electroconvulsive therapy is performed under general anesthesia, you should not eat, drink, or smoke after midnight on the days of your treatments. Do not drink alcohol or use any illegal drugs over the course of the treatment.

Can ECT cause hand tremors?

Severe neurologic side effects, such as dysphasia, tremor, and gait disturbance, are “extremely rare and have been temporary and reversible in the few such reports to be found it the scientific literature,” he added. ECT is associated with deficits in short-term memory and executive function.

What client teaching will the nurse provide prior to electroconvulsive therapy?

Withhold food and fluids for 6 to 8 hours before treatment. Remove dentures, glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, hair pins and etc. Have client void before the treatment.

Can ECT affect eyesight?

Conclusion: Transient cortical blindness is probably a very rare adverse effect of ECT. The findings are discussed in the context of visual impairment associated with epileptic seizures.

Electroconvulsive Therapy Patient Experience

Recent surveys of patients who have undergone ECT treatment have revealed positive attitudes to its effectiveness [20-22]. In one study, less than a fifth of respondents rated ECT as slightly as or much worse than going to the dentist [21] and most (97%) did not report the experience to be very stressful.

Can ECT damage your brain?

Despite many scientific and governmental authorities having concluded that ECT does not cause brain damage, there is significant evidence that ECT has indeed caused brain damage in some patients, both historically and recently, and evidence that it always causes some form or degree of brain damage.

Do they shave head for ECT?

During surgery prep, you’ll have your head shaved. You may be kept unconscious throughout brain surgery with general anesthesia or stay awake with a local anesthetic used on your scalp. A sturdy frame will hold your head to prevent movement during surgery.

Can you feel worse after ECT?

ECT can’t prevent future depression, or fix any ongoing stresses or problems that are contributing to how you’re feeling. Some people have very bad experiences of ECT, for example because they feel worse after treatment or are given it without consent. You might not want to risk the possibility of getting side effects.

Why is ECT controversial?

Reasons for Controversy Three reasons are given for the aversion: 1) ECT is considered old-fashioned and politically incorrect; 2) it is forced on the patient; and 3) the memory disturbances are so severe and persistent that no rational human being would undergo this procedure, no matter how well-intended.

Does ECT alter brain structure?

These conditions are not approached during ECT. Other findings indicate that the passage of electricity, thermal effects, and the transient disruption of the blood-brain barrier during ECS do not result in structural brain damage. Conclusions: There is no credible evidence that ECT causes structural brain damage.

Can ECT help with anxiety?

Electroconvulsive therapy is effective in the acute treatment of major depressive disorder patients associated with anxiety symptoms. Anxiety symptoms improved less than depression symptoms during acute electroconvulsive therapy.

Under which of the following circumstances is electroconvulsive therapy used?

ECT is generally used when severe depression is unresponsive to other forms of therapy. Or it might be used when patients pose a severe threat to themselves or others and it is too dangerous to wait until medications take effect.

Does ECT lower intelligence?

However, former patients have publicly testified that ECT can result in a very significant (>30 point) permanent decrement in IQ score (Food and Drug Administration, 1982; Andre, 2001; Cott, 2005: p. 5) and have documented the claims by extensive neuropsychological evaluation.

Does ECT reset your brain?

ECT has been referred to as a reset button for the brain, which not only directly improves depressive symptoms, but also allows current medications to work more effectively.

Can ECT cause dissociation?

The dissociative disorders also involve disturbances of memory, as well as consciousness and personal identity, but are rarely iatrogenic. We report a case in which dissociative symptoms developed after ECT.

Do patients feel ECT?

Once your medical team is sure that you are deeply asleep and that your muscles are completely relaxed, they will administer the ECT treatment. Because you will be asleep, you will experience no pain during the treatment and will not feel the current or the seizure.

Can ECT cause bradycardia?

ECT initially produces parasympathetic-induced bradycardia lasting 1015 s through electrical stimulation of the nucleus of the vagal nerve, followed immediately by a more prominent sympathetic response that results in transient tachycardia and hypertension.

Which of the following often occurs as a result of electroconvulsive therapy ECT treatment?

The most common side effects of ECT on the day of treatment include nausea, headache, fatigue, confusion, and slight memory loss, which may last minutes to hours. These risks must be balanced with the consequences of ineffectively treated severe psychiatric disorders.

Can ECT cause psychosis?

A common cause of psychotic symptoms such as hallucination, delusions and thought disorder after ECT may also occur in the course of delirium-type impaired consciousness [1013].

What is electroconvulsive therapy NHS?

Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is a physical treatment carried out under a general anaesthetic. A stimulus is passed across the brain for a few seconds to produce a small artificial seizure which affects the brain, including the parts that control thinking, mood, appetite and sleep.

Can ECT cause paranoia?

Thus, many researchers have offered what were termed “favorable” features for ECT response. They include sudden onset, shorter duration of episode, psychomotor retardation, early awakening, weight loss, older age, paranoia, and delusions (psychosis).

Can ECT be given under Mental Capacity Act?

Can I be given ECT if I am detained under the Mental Health Act? You can accept or refuse ECT if you have the mental capacity to make the decision about your treatment. A medical professional will certify that you have agreed to the treatment and that you have the mental capacity to make this decision.

Why is ECT unethical?

ECT is not safe: it produces varying amounts of memory loss and other adverse effects on cognition in nearly everyone who receives it, typically lasting weeks or months after the last treatment (as well as many other adverse consequences, from ocular effects to postictal psychosis).

How do you feel after ECT treatment?

After the Procedure When you awaken, you may experience a period of disorientation lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Headaches, jaw pain, and muscle soreness may occur. ECT requires a series of treatments, often initiated two to three times a week for a few weeks and then the frequency is tapered down.

How long do the benefits of ECT last?

There is considerable variability in the trajectories, but most commonly there is progressive symptomatic improvement within the first week and complete remission within 3 to 4 weeks.

Does electroconvulsive therapy change personality?

ECT does not change a person’s personality, nor is it designed to treat those with just primary personality disorders. ECT can cause transient short-term memory or new learning impairment during a course of ECT, which fully reverses usually within one to four weeks after an acute course is stopped.

Can ECT cause dementia?

Although ECT can cause transient memory problems, the new findings show that the treatment “does not cause dementia,” author Martin Balslev Jrgensen, DMSc, professor of clinical psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, told Medscape Medical News.

Can ECT cause long term damage?

Some studies also suggest that ECT causes long lasting or permanent memory damage, they add, although ECT advocates claim this memory loss is caused by depression not ECT itself.

What part of the brain is affected by ECT?

A great deal of research has been performed pertaining to the neuroplastic effect of ECT in patients with MDD. Moreover, significant modulations in volume of brain substructures such as hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate gyrus and medial and inferior temporal cortex have been reported with ECT.

Can ECT worsen anxiety?

ECT may have a role in people who have comorbid depression and anxiety. The concern of some psychiatrists is that while ECT may help with depressive symptoms, it could worsen anxiety symptoms, including obsessional thoughts or panic attacks.

Does ECT cause memory loss?

Many people experience memory loss after having ECT. Some people find this only lasts for a short time and their memories gradually return as they recover from ECT.

What does ECT feel like?

On the days of an ECT treatment, some people experience nausea, headache, jaw pain or muscle ache. These generally can be treated with medications. Medical complications. As with any type of medical procedure, especially one that involves anesthesia, there are risks of medical complications.

How long does confusion last after ECT?

Confusion usually begins immediately after ECT and typically lasts for an hour or two; resolving spontaneously [12]. Acute confusional state lasting less than one hour is a frequently encountered complaint reported in almost 12% post-ECT patients [13, 14].

Which electrode placement during electroconvulsive therapy ECT is associated with the best outcomes?

Clinical Effects: Bitemporal vs. Most electrode placement studies have compared bitemporal with unilateral ECT. The longstanding consensus is that bitemporal placement provokes more cognitive side effects while unilateral is less effective, with fewer remissions and more relapse.

Do I need to shave my head for ECT?

Once the patient is under anaesthesia, two electrodes are held to the scalp – no cutting or shaving of hair is necessary – through which a small electric current is applied by an ECT machine. The duration, nature and strength of the current is carefully controlled and determined by the psychiatrist.

How are patients prepared for electroconvulsive therapy?

Before ECT, patients are asked not to eat or drink from midnight the night before treatment. During the procedure, the patient receives a short acting anesthetic agent which puts the patient to sleep for approximately 5-10 minutes.

What happens when ECT doesn’t work?

If nothing else has helped, including ECT, and you are still severely depressed, you may be offered neurosurgery for mental disorder (NMD), deep brain stimulation (DBS) or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).