electroconvulsive therapy

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electroconvulsive therapy

in psychiatry, treatment of mood disorders by means of electricity; the broader term "shock therapy" also includes the use of chemical agents. The therapeutic possibilities of these treatments were discovered in the 1930s by Manfred Sakel, a Polish psychiatrist, using insulin; L. J. Meduna, an American psychiatrist, using Metrazol; and Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini, Italian psychiatrists, using electric shock. Metrazol and insulin accounted for a very limited number of remissions in cases of schizophrenia. However, the injection of insulin often caused coma, while Metrazol and electric shock resulted in convulsions similar to those of epileptics.

Advances in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have made it the standard mechanism of shock therapy. ECT has had unquestionable success with involutional melancholia and other depressive disorders, although it may be ineffective or only temporarily effective. ECT is generally employed only after other therapies for depression, mania, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have proven ineffective. The administration of anesthetics and muscle relaxants prior to ECT has greatly reduced the risk of injury during the procedure, which is typically administered six to eight times over a period of several weeks. The seizure lasts for up to 20 seconds, and the patient can be up and about in about an hour. Long-term memory loss is the main significant potential side effect; headache, muscle stiffness, and temporary short-term memory loss may occur. Why ECT works, however, is still not understood, but it may be due to changes in brain chemistry caused by procedure, such as neurotransmittersneurotransmitter,
chemical that transmits information across the junction (synapse) that separates one nerve cell (neuron) from another nerve cell or a muscle. Neurotransmitters are stored in the nerve cell's bulbous end (axon).
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 released in the brain, or to a reduction in brain activity in certain areas after the procedure.

Bibliography

See A. S. Hermreck and A. P. Thal, The Adrenergic Drugs and Their Use in Shock Therapy (1968); L. B. Kalinowsky and H. Hippius, Pharmacological, Convulsive, and other Somatic Treatments in Psychiatry (1969).

electroconvulsive therapy

[i¦lek·trō·kən¦vəl·səv ′ther·ə·pē]
(psychology)
The technique of eliciting convulsions by applying an electric current through the brain of a human or an experimental animal for a brief period by means of electrodes that are placed on the head; sometimes used as a treatment for severe mental depression.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nursing home resident Catherine Jack, 76, died shortly after being given electro-convulsive therapy under general anaesthetic.
Some depressions may respond best to electro-convulsive therapy.
Application of procedures advocated by the more traditional medical model include the administration of psychotropic medications, electro-convulsive therapy, and time-limited hospitalization.
Qualifying patients are those patients who are: - detained under the MHA (even if they are currently on leave of absence from hospital) apart from those patients detained under sections 4, 5(2), 5(4), 135 or 136; - conditionally discharged restricted patients; - subject to Guardianship under the Act; or - on Supervised Community Treatment (SCT); - being considered for a treatment to which section 57 applies ( a section 57 treatment); - under 18 and being considered for electro-convulsive therapy or any other treatment to which section 58a applies ( a section 58a treatment~).
As the series begins, Carrie seems less interested in proving she's right than in rebuilding her life after undergoing electro-convulsive therapy, but when a former informant gets in touch, she's drawn back into her old CIA life.
So expectations are very high for this second run, which initially finds former CIA agent Carrie seems less interested in proving that all-American hero Nicholas Brody is actually a terrorist than in rebuilding her life after undergoing electro-convulsive therapy.
HUNDREDS of people with mental health problems are undergoing electro-convulsive therapy in Wales each year.
There were 1,529 administrations of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in 2007, compared to 1,069 the year before, according to figures obtained from the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust under the Freedom of Information Act.

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