What are side effects of electroconvulsive therapy for schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
For the most part, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective medical procedure used to treat schizophrenia. Like most medical procedures, ECT can produce some undesirable side effects. One of these side effects is that people may react to the anesthesia used in the procedure. People who have heart trouble may face an increased risk of complications from elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Another side effect that may be worrisome is memory loss. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, if ECT is performed only on one side of the brain, instead of both sides, this side effect may be reduced. People who receive ECT treatment may feel confused or disoriented for a few minutes or hours after the procedure. This side effect mostly occurs for older people and varies considerably from person to person.

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