Electroconvulsive Therapy

For some individuals, medications and therapy may be less helpful for treating their symptoms of bipolar disorder. In such cases, doctors sometimes prescribe electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a medical treatment that involves sending a low-level electric current through the brain for about one minute to induce a small seizure. This is commonly conducted in a hospital under the care of physicians. ECT is usually tried when other treatments don't work, and it can be especially helpful for those experiencing severe depression. Researchers don't fully understand why this treatment works, but it seems to help balance mood and decrease mood symptoms. It is also used to treat acute mania and usually results in rapid improvements without the side effects associated with taking mood stabilizing medications. However, short-term memory loss may occur, which usually lasts only a few short weeks after treatment. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits and side effects of ECT, talk to your treatment provider.

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