This chapter introduces the reader to the origin, history and mechanisms of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Therapeutic mechanisms of ECT such as psychodynamic theories, neuroendocrine theory, anticonvulsant theory and changes in neurotransmitter systems and neural tissues are discussed. Major depression, mania and schizophrenia are the main indications for ECT. ECT may play a role in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and refractory status epilepticus, and there is need for further research in this area. Technical aspects of ECT including a description of ECT devices, electrode placement, stimulus parameters and adjunctive apparatus are discussed. The readers will also learn about the ECT procedure, anaesthetic drugs, skeletal muscle relaxants and other cardiovascular drugs used in modified ECT.
- Electroconvulsive therapy
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