Deciding to undergo ECT is not something that should be
taken lightly. Patients who think they might be candidates
for the treatment should consult with their physician,
as well as a psychiatrist experienced in the delivery
of ECT. Each case should be evaluated individually, and
previous treatments, family history and other medical
conditions should factor in to the decision.
For many people suffering from severe
mental disorders including chronic depression, ECT is
the only hope and the last resort. The success rate
of ECT is higher in patients who are severely depressed
and have not been relieved by other methods, including
drug therapy. ECT treatments are painless and, in some
cases safer, with fewer side effects.
In addition, the cost of ECT is relatively low compared
to life-long drug therapy or, in some cases, full-time
hospitalization. Most insurance carriers cover the cost
of ECT, while anti-depressive drugs may not be covered
and are costly to the patient.
Con's of ECT
ECT is not a procedure without risks. In most cases
there is some memory loss, and as with any minor surgical
procedure or procedure using anesthesia, there is a
potential for complications, problems or even death.
Some studies suggest that ECT may not offer a permanent
solution or cure for depression. Depending on the individual,
medication or maintenance ECT is required. In most cases,
medication is needed after ECT and further ECT treatments
may be required.