How does ECT help catatonic schizophrenia?

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Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
ECT, or Electroconvulsive Therapy, is helpful for people with schizophrenia because the treatment causes changes in one's brain chemistry. These changes can result in a decrease in a person's catatonic symptoms. ECT is one treatment of choice for catatonic schizophrenia. During ECT, electrodes are placed on a person's scalp, and electrical currents are sent directly into the brain. These currents cause a short seizure, which usually lasts less than a minute. ECT is usually recommended for people who are unable to tolerate medications. It can also help those who are in a severe and unresponsive catatonic state. When people are severely catatonic, other treatment options may not be effective.

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