How does ECT help catatonic schizophrenia?

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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