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ECT is a form of Electro Convulsive Therapy that is used to treat severe mental illnesses. It is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and other similar organizations in Canada and Great Britain.
It is considered to be a treatment that can be effective in treating unipolar depression.
Some studies have found that cognitive decline occurs in some ECT patients.
Memory is a common complaint of depressed patients. However, memory impairment is possibly not a direct result of ECT. It may be due to neurogenesis, which occurs when new neurons are formed.
Studies have also shown that ECT improves symptoms in patients who are resistant to other depression medications. However, it needs to be noted that there are certain risks involved in ECT treatment. So these risks have to be carefully evaluated to see if the benefits of this treatment balance and better still outweigh any associated risks.
Informed consent is necessary for ECT treatment. This consent should be obtained from the patient's physician. It should also include all the necessary information for the patient and family. It should also be obtained prior to the initial acute treatment. This consent process is governed by varied levels of the law in different regions.
In addition, there are several other governing factors that the ECT providing facility should meet, such as the ECT treatment team being well-trained and qualified along with the ECT treatment facility meeting minimum staffing requirements.
In the event a patient is unable to give consent, then the team needs to come up with other suitable treatment plan.
Considering this method of treatment is quite potent in its benefits as well as risks, it is imperative that the patient works very closely with the treatment team and their doctor to report any side-effects. Similarly, it is also important that the patient properly follows complete treatment and medication regimen as prescribed by their doctor and the ECT team.