Less Common Forms Of Depression Therapy Treatments, ETC

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One form of depression therapy that is not as well known is electroconvulsive therapy.  Designed to work in certain conditions, this alternative approach can be beneficial in difficult cases or cases where depression has been resistant to other treatment modalities.

Learning some of the basic facts about electroconvulsive therapy and the patients that it helps will give you a better understanding of this often misunderstood treatment method.


Patients who are the most likely candidates for electroconvulsive therapy fall into several categories.  One category is that of patients who have severe depression that does not benefit from antidepressants or traditional counselling.

Another is patients who have severe depression but who are for some reason not able to use antidepressant medications.  Clearly, another treatment is needed in these cases, and that is where electroconvulsive treatment comes into play.

How It Works

Electroconvulsive therapy administers an electrical shock to the scalp.  That shock causes a small seizure in the brain which in turn causes a release of neurotransmitters in the brain.  Neurotransmitters serve to transmit messages to different parts of the brain.

The process of electrical stimulation in this way helps the brain to function better.   With the brain functioning better, symptoms of depression are lessened and the patient feels better.


ECT treatments are given up to 4 times a week and are usually administered no more than 12 times in any treatment regimen.  This regimen takes place over the course of several weeks.

Medications are given to the patient so that no bodily movement is produced when the seizure occurs.  The patient wakes up 5 or 10 minutes following the treatment and is allowed to leave the facility once he or she is completely awake again.

Side Effects

Some side effects of this process may include short term memory loss, nausea, confusion, and a headache.  It is possible that other memory problems may manifest after treatment as well.

Blood pressure and heart rhythm may be altered during treatments, but both are closely monitored at all times.

Electroconvulsive treatment is one that is usually reserved for patients who are resistant to or unable to engage in other treatment modalities.  It is a far cry from the way it was once portrayed in movies.  This therapy is a professional, highly monitored way of helping certain individuals with severe depression.  In many cases, it may be a last resort, but having it as an option can prove beneficial when other treatments cannot provide relief.

Learn how I beat Depression

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