Electroconvulsive Therapy

For many people, ECT therapy has been significantly stigmatised by its portrayal in movies and literature. These perceptions relate to the community’s uncertainties about its use and its process. Since its invention in the late 30’s of the twentieth century, ECT has been a lifesaving procedure for many patients suffering from severe psychiatric problems.

It is an extremely useful treatment method without which psychiatry would be deficient in delivering the most effective therapy for many of its patients. Further technological advances and increasingly refined technical aspects of this treatment has dramatically improved is effectiveness, safety and, as a result of that, patients’ acceptability.

Continued improvements have reduced side effects, particularly in relation to the negative impact of ECT on cognitive functioning. In the recent decade we have observed a revival of this procedure and broader recognition of its effectiveness and safety profile.

ECT is a procedure, which is well grounded in evidence-based practice (EBP) principles. Evidence- Based Practice in medicine asserts that making clinical decisions based on best evidence arising from extensive the research and clinical expertise. It improves the quality of care and the patient’s quality of life.

Some reasons ECT is used as a treatment method:

  • Lack of success with other treatment methods such as medications and group therapy
  • Intolerance to side effects of medications
  • Side effects of the medications outweigh the side effects of the ECT
  • ECT has been a successful mode of treatment in the past
  • A combination of treatments is used to facilitate a quicker recovery e.g. ECT and/or medication and/or group/individual therapy

Patients being offered this service are provided with thorough explanation of the treatment and procedures. Consent is required before the commencement of the treatment.