Treating Abnormality - ECT

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Electroconvulsive therapy is used with people suffering from severe depression, when psychotherapy and medication have not worked. It is often used when there is a risk of suicide because it has much quicker results than antidepressant drugs.


  • Electrode placed above the temple on the non dominant side of the brain and one electrode placed on the forehead (unilateral) OR electrode placed above each temple (bilateral).
  • Patient is injected with short acting drug to make them unconscious and given nerve blocking agent/muscle relaxant to prevent muscles contracting during ECT. Oxygen also given to patient.
  • Electric current (approx. 0.6amps) lasting about half a second is passed through the brain - this produces a siezure which affects the whole brain.
  • ECT usualls given approx. 3 times a week and a patient will need about 3-15 treatments depending on severity.


  • Abrams concluded that after studying ECT for over 50 years, we are still no closer to understanding how/why is works.
  • Most researchers agree…


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