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Overview

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used in the treatment of various psychiatric illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In catatonic depression, ECT shows improvements as high as 80 to 100% which is more effective than any other treatment options presently available. Although ECT does not treat anxiety, it can be used for people with co-morbid depression and anxiety, especially for severe and life-threatening cases of depression. Those with schizophrenia can benefit from ECT when antipsychotic medications are ineffective for them. ECT has also been effectively used for the treatment of depression in Parkinson’s disease.

ECT is used when medications and psychotherapy are ineffective forms of treatment for certain people. Sometimes it can be used in combination with other treatment modalities in hopes that it might improve the person’s symptoms of their mental disorder more effectively than ECT alone could.

The short term side-effects of ECT can include headaches, muscle aches, confusion, nausea, etc. which usually resolves within a few days. The long term side-effect can include memory loss, with memory loss regarding the most recent events being the most common. The memory loss usually lasts for a short time, however for some people it may persist. Severe side effects can occur for those with heart issues; moreover it is best to consult a cardiologist before considering ECT.
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How effective is ECT for Anxiety?

ECT can help treat co-morbid conditions with anxiety such as depression when it is resistant to conventional treatments such as medications and therapy, which can thus enhance the treatment interventions for anxiety.

Is ECT for Anxiety safe?

ECT is used as a last resort to treatment for depression in people with co-morbid depression and anxiety disorders when conventional methods do not work. In some cases, there is a chance of ECT exacerbating symptoms of anxiety, which is why medications and psychotherapy are the first recommended treatment options for co-morbid conditions with anxiety. ECT is generally safe with mild and temporary side effects such as nausea, headaches, confusion, etc. but is not a safe treatment option for someone with certain medical conditions such as heart issues. Moreover, physical evaluations by a doctor must always precede ECT sessions.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

The number of sessions depends on the person’s severity and type of disorder, the presence of any other co-morbid conditions, and the person’s response to the ECT sessions.