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2 electrodes are placed on the head; 1 above the temple and 1 in the middle of the
forehead. A sedative is given to ensure the patient is unconscious before the 0.6
amp current is applies. The patient is also paralysed to stop injuries from
convulsions. The current is passed for half a second and patients usually need
between 3 and 15 treatments.
One study found that ECT is more effective than a placebo called sham ECT.
However ECT was found to be less effective when compared to medication
although some patients did benefit from both ECT and medication together.
Other research in India found contradictory evidence suggesting there's no
difference between real and sham ECT. However, this study only used 36 patients.
The reasons for this contradictory evidence are:
Cultural variation in diagnosis: Indian patients could have been diagnosed
differently which could mean they only think of extreme cases of
schizophrenia needing ECT as a last resort whereas American diagnosis may
lead to less extreme cases being treated by ECT.
Cultural variation in after care: Indian hospitals may have worse after care
than American hospitals which means there is a higher chance of a relapse in
Side effects of brain damage, death and memory loss. This means that ECT isn't
used as an everyday treatment for schizophrenia as it is only used as a last resort
if nothing else is working.