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  • Created by: izzy
  • Created on: 15-06-13 12:10

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

ECT involves passing a small electric current through the brain. This causes the equivalent of a seizure as seen in epilepsy, with violent electrical discharges in the brain and behavioural convulsions. It was introduced in the 1930s and originally tested as a treatment for schizophrenia. It them became apparent that ECT could be an effective therapy for some forms of severe depression and it became a popular antidepressant treatment by the 1950s. We do not know how ECT works, but it is likely that the electrical discharge will have an effect on the activity of a number of brain neurotransmitters.

The introduction of antidepressant drugs, described in the next section, reduced the use of ECT but it still remained an option. Through


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