Who benefits from ECT?
ECT can relieve or lessen many symptoms of several mental health conditions such as:
- Severe depression with detachment from reality, refusal to eat, or desire to commit suicide
- Catatonia with lack of movement, lack of speech or fast, irregular movements
- Treatment-resistant depression
- Severe mania with impaired decision-making, impulsive behavior, substance abuse, agitation, extended euphoria or hyperactivity
- Aggression and agitation associated with dementia
Who should get ECT?
A doctor can recommend ECT after other medication and treatment options have been found ineffective. ECT can be an option for some patients with the mental health conditions and symptoms described above and others:
Patients who are pregnant and unwilling to take medication that can threaten fetal health
Elderly or older adults who cannot tolerate prescription medication side effects
Other patients who prefer to not take medication
Patients with past success with ECT
Before suggesting ECT, a physician will evaluate a patient’s medical history, physical exam, psychiatric assessment, blood tests, heart health, and risks for anesthesia complications.