How can electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) affect memory?

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Some memory loss is an expected side effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Each person's experience is unique. Here's how:
  • The degree of memory loss. Some people have no memory loss. Most people only lose memory of events close to the time of the ECT series. However, in rare cases (about 1 in 200 patients), memory loss can be substantial.
  • The duration of memory loss. The loss is usually temporary, lasting several days to several weeks before memories return. Some memories, usually for events right around the time of ECT treatment, may not come back. In infrequent cases, memory loss is prolonged or even permanent.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.