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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

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Updated April 13, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:
Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT for short is a controversial treatment in which a convulsion or seizure is produced by passing an electric current through the brain. ECT is primarily used for treatment-resistant depression and may also be prescribed for mania and schizophrenia. Given under anesthesia, ECT may be unilateral (electrodes on one side of the head) or bilateral (electrodes on both sides). The most common side effect of electroconvulsive therapy is memory loss.

For more, see Electroconvulsive Therapy.
Pronunciation: ee-LEK-tro-cun-VUL-siv
Also Known As: Electroshock, electroshock therapy, shock therapy
Alternate Spellings: Electro-convulsive therapy

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