Electroconvulsive Therapy is a medication technique used to treat clinical depression. Apart from this technique, there are treatments like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation(rTMS), Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), Pharmacological treatments and psychological treatments. Psychological therapies are the first most treatment for clinical depression, and it well enough to have counseling for patients with mild depression. For patients with mild to moderate depression will need medications alone or a combination of both counseling and medications. But when it comes to severe clinical depression, Electroconvulsive Therapy is the commonly used technique.

In Electroconvulsive Therapy, a small amount of electric current passing through the brain with the use of two electrodes and this causes to change of brain chemicals to the normal condition. It could help to reverse symptoms of the depressed person and can expect an 80% recovery from this treatment. Patients should have to get about 12 sessions while taking two sessions per week. Notice that, there can be damages to the central nervous system as a long term effect.

Preparation electroconvulsive therapy

Generally, to complete ECT treatments, it takes about 10 minutes with added time for preparation and recovery. The anesthetic medications used to induce unconsciousness during ECT; therefore, the patient should not take any foods after midnight. Also, patients should not drive after having the treatment. The following are the medications receive during an ECT procedure. These include anesthetic induction agents, anticholinergic agents, muscle relaxants, antihypertensives, and narcotics. [1]

Before receiving your first treatment with ECT, you will need a complete evaluation with the following tests,

  • Complete physical exam
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Complete blood count
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Medical history

Anesthetic induction agents used for electroconvulsive therapy

  • Methohexital [barbiturate]
  • Propofol (nonbarbiturate)
  • Ketamine [nonbarbiturate]
  • Thiopental [barbiturate]
  • Etomidate (nonbarbiturate)
  • Alfentanil (opioid)

Neuromuscular blocking agents for ECT

  • Succinylcholine
  • Mivacurium
  • Atracurium
  • Rocuronium

Antihypertensives for ECT

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • β-blockers

Anticholinergic agents for ECT

  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Atropine

Narcotics used for ECT

  • Alfentanil
  • Fentanyl

The side effect of Electroconvulsive Therapy

  • Memory loss (Some people may face memory loss usually events that occurred right before treatment. For most cases, these problems come to normal within the first few months.)
  • Physical side effects (Just after treatment, some patients experience headache, nausea or muscle ache)
  • Medical complications (at the time of treatment, heart rate and blood pressure increase, rarely it can be leads to heart problems if the patient have heart problems)

What is clinical depression?

Sadness and frustration that persist in the mind that negatively affect the daily activities of life called clinical depression. this is also called a major depressive disorder, recurrent depression or unipolar depression. Issues and misfortunes are part of human life. Everyone has to face unfortunate events and maybe temporarily depressed. It is only natural for people to temporarily blame themselves, feel sad or empty in the face of life’s failures. That feeling disappears for a while. But in the case of clinical depression, the above symptoms are very severe and last longer. Such oppressive thoughts can interfere with his/her job, family life or learning. Similarly, depression can change one’s thoughts, behavior, and even physical activities.

Depression is one of the most talked-about mental problems in modern society. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from clinical depression. A sufferer of depression cannot escape it alone, and for that treatments are essential. Early detection of symptoms is very important as it is a common condition in today’s society.

Symptoms of clinical depression

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once entertained
  • Thinking/feeling like have no future, worthless and helpless
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of confidence
  • Lack of interest in the day- to- day work
  • Lack of interest in sex life
  • Trying to be separate from others
  • A very lasting intense sadness
  • Feeling guilty without any reason or on small incidents
  • Loss of energy(feeling tired) or increased fatigue
  • Non-causal illnesses such as headaches, aches and pains in the body
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What are the causes of clinical depression?

  • Changes in brain chemicals
  • Genetically inheritance
  • How the person sees the world (ex- Being in the opinion that everything should be perfect)
  • Disturbing events
  • Affliction statuses

Other treatments for depression

Pharmacological treatments

Depression is considered a curable disease. People with clinical depression have the ability to cure the disease through a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medications. Before diagnosis or treatment, the doctor should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation. It can be possibly a physical examination and an interview.  

Pharmacological treatments may be the widely used treatment for depression, but it doesn’t say it is effective. Depression is not only a chemical imbalance in the brain. Pharmacological treatments are not a long-term solution. And there can be many side effects. Always people can use breathing meditation to keep their minds fresh and stress-free. You can find more information on Pharmacological treatments here.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation(rTMS) for depression

If you suffer from clinical depression, TMS treatment may be an option. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, uses magnetic fields to stimulate brain nerve cells in the brain to cure depression. TMS is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective. You can find more information from here



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