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Overview

Modern ECT is considered a safe procedure for the treatment of bipolar disorder. During the procedure, the patient is given muscle relaxants to prevent injury, and anaesthesia to make them temporarily unconscious. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s head through which a small amount of electricity is passed through their brain. This induces a seizure, which changes the brain’s chemistry in a way that leads to normal functioning for the patient. ECT has mild, temporary side effects such as temporary confusion, memory loss which is limited to a small amount of time after the procedure, and other physical side effects such as vomiting, nausea, muscle ache, muscle spasms, jaw pain, headache, etc.

ECT, regardless of its effectiveness, is used as a last resort of treatment after trying out medications and therapy, or in severe or urgent cases. It is considered safe to be administered on older patients and pregnant women. However, ECT could be a risky procedure for some patients with other medical issues, which is why thorough physical evaluations are always done by medical professionals beforehand.
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How effective is ECT for Bipolar Disorder?

ECT is effective in controlling the symptoms of manic and depressive episodes and in preventing relapses, especially for patients with severe bipolar disorder or those who are resistant to medical drug treatment. 

Is ECT for Bipolar Disorder safe?

ECT is considered to be a generally safe form of treatment with mild and temporary side effects such as temporary memory loss, confusion, headaches, nausea, muscle aches, jaw pain, etc. It is also considered safe to be administered on older adults and pregnant women. However, for people with certain medical conditions, it can be risky; moreover, physical examinations by doctors are always advisable before considering taking ECT treatment. 

How many numbers of sessions are required? 

The number of ECT sessions required depends on the person’s severity of condition, whether other modalities of treatments are effective for the person, and the person’s response to ECT treatment.