When medication and psychotherapy are not effective, an alternative treatment for depression is ECT, electroconvulsive therapy.
For some people, medication and psychotherapy is not as effective as we'd like. In those cases, Dr. Susan Samuels explains, an alternative treatment could be ECT, electroconvulsive therapy. ECT is a procedure in which small electric currents are passed through the brain to produce a small, intentional and controlled seizure.
The concept behind this form of therapy is that with seizure activity, we can recalibrate the natural brain chemicals. ECT is generally performed six to twelve times within a three week period. Potential side effects are generally temporary and can include nausea, headache or jaw pain, memory loss or confusion.
For people with depression, we have a lot of great therapies and medications that are known to work quite well, and researchers are still looking to new options, therapies, procedures, and devices that can improve our treatment of depression even more.
Dr. Samuels is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and clinical pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and an assistant attending psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
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