Electroconvulsive therapy

Author: Reid WH
Tex Med 1993 May
Journal Volume: 89: 58 through 62 Abstract: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe, effective, valuable treatment for serious affective disorders (eg, major depression). Sometimes indicated for other, occasionally nonpsychiatric, medical conditions, ECT is a moderately complex procedure for which training is provided routinely during psychiatric residency. Although temporary confusion and amnesia are expected immediately after treatment, no reliable data suggest that permanent memory loss or cognitive deficit is caused by modern ECT. Indeed, because severe depression itself often causes both memory and cognitive deficits, ECT's remarkable therapeutic effectiveness is associated with long-term improvement in cognition, learning ability, and memory for many patients. Controversy over safety and effect on memory is fueled largely by public misinformation.