After researching electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), I have decided that if a close family member or even myself were severely depressed I would not support the use of ECT. Electroconvulsive therapy consists of an electrical shock, which is used to produce a seizure. Many people experience seizures due to some other type of illness or illnesses, and in these cases there is medicine taken in order to prevent these occurrences. In deciding my opinion on the topic of ECT I asked myself would I want to put myself or a loved one through what others are trying to avoid; a seizure. Although ECT has proven to be effective in some cases of depression, it has many risk factors involved and it does not ensure a lifetime with out the recurrence of depression.
Before ECT is administered the doctor will first do a physical examination on the patient to make sure they are physically able to have the treatment. If the physical examination shows the patient is physically able the next step will be to meet with an anesthesiologist. The purpose of this visit is for the anesthesiologist to examine the heart and lungs to ensure the anesthesia given through an IV will be safe for the patient. Another step taken will be many blood tests and a test showing the rhythm of the patient's heart. All these procedures must be done before the first treatment of ECT is ever given. These steps are just the beginning of precautions for the treatments no one, not even the doctor, knows how the electricity passed through the brain will actually effect the patient.
ECT treatment is generally administered in the morning, before breakfast. Prior to the actual treatment, the patient is given general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. Electrodes are then attached to the patient's scalp and an electric current is applied which causes a brief convulsion. Minutes later, the patient awakens confused and without memory of events surrounding the treatment. This treatment is usually repeated...
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