How is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) administered?

Before a patient receives ECT, he or she should be extensively evaluated to ensure that it is the appropriate treatment for his or her condition. Treatment typically occurs in two phases. The initial series is composed of six to 12 sessions over two to four weeks, and these can be delivered either on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the illness severity of the patient. The second phase is optional and determined for the individual patient. In this maintenance phase, ECT is administered with decreasing frequency and may continue for weeks, months or years, depending on individual needs of each patient.

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