Electroconvulsive Therapy is a fairly new psychiatric service developed in the US in the 1960s. It is still the duty of area based agencies to train a sufficient amount of ECT therapists and to counteract unsubstantiated threats by the anti- psychiatry movement through ongoing research studies and education. Dr. Kellner is now Chief of Electroconvulsive Therapy, New York Community Hospital, Brooklyn, NY and Adjunct Senior Professor of psychiatry, Ira E. Deutschler College of Medicine, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York University. Dr. Kellner is also a practicing psychiatrist and a practicing therapist. He is also a member of the American Encephalomyle Therapy Association and the ECA.
Electroconvulsive Therapy devices are usually used in cases of drug or alcohol abuse, or in the psychiatric community at large. In recent years, they have been increasingly used to treat major depression, psychotic disorders, borderline personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, and posttraumatic stress disorders. The mechanism is similar to that of electroconvulsive therapy - electrical stimulation of the scalp, brain, or nervous system. This procedure is done by passing electric currents to certain areas of the brain that are believed to be responsible for regulating mood, emotions, cognition and behaviour. There are four main types of ECT; General ECT, Scalp ECT, Electroconvulsive Therapy for Special Populations, and Vagal Nerve Stimulation.
General ECT is relatively new and is a treatment for patients with mild to moderate degrees of bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders. General ECT involves the administration of three different ECT procedures. These procedures include Electro Convulsive Therapy, Vagal Nerve Stimulation, and Intra-eral Stimulation. Electro Convulsive Therapy is the most commonly performed electroconvulsive therapy procedure in psychiatry today. It is also very successful in treating depression and anxiety.
An ECT specialist will administer this electroconvulsive therapy to you by placing electrodes into various points on your body. The purpose of these electrodes is to induce a seizure in your brain. When you are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, you will most likely experience several mild to moderate seizures within the five to ten minute timeframe. During these seizures, doctors and the ECT specialist may use either a brief shock or a longer, sustained level of stimulation. The treatment is usually completed over a six month period.
Effective treatment of Electroconvulsive Therapy
Electroconvulsive Therapy has proven quite effective for the treatment of depressive disorders, but is not recommended as a standalone treatment for those suffering from bipolar disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These conditions require the use of psychological counselling and treatment from a professional psychotherapist. Using this ECT method may provide short-term symptom relief, but is not considered a long term solution. If you choose to pursue using this therapy to treat your mental health condition, you should be sure that you are prepared for all of the physical and emotional effects that may occur during and after the therapy session. Patients who have previously undergone this treatment have described it as frightening because of the invasive nature of the process and the fact that it uses electric shock.
There are several medications that can be administered to help ECT patients with mild to moderate depression. Your psychiatrist or psychologist will discuss which medication would be best for you. You will also be advised to avoid any drugs, foods, or substances that could disrupt the electroconvulsive therapy treatment response. Some common medications used to treat depression include alprazolam, amitriptyline, clozapine, dominos amine, tricyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Once you are ready to begin the treatment process, you will be required to have a number of medical devices in the office. Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices will generally include: an ECT collar, ECT bedside monitors, and/or a portable ECT unit. These will vary in size and function. The purpose of each of these devices is to maintain your physical and mental health. If you are planning on using these medical devices in the future, you will be encouraged to learn how to properly use them so that you may continue to enjoy their full functionality.
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