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What happens during electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment?

Here's what happens during an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment:
  • Anesthesia and other medication. Through the intravenous (IV) line, you'll receive anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. You may also have other medications that make the treatment safer or more effective.
  • Tooth protection. After you are asleep, a tooth guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth during the treatment.
  • Brief seizure. A device will be held against your head to send electrical impulses. This will cause a seizure in the brain (a period of fast nerve impulses). The seizure usually lasts from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Medication will help prevent the brain seizure from affecting the rest of your body, so body movements should be slight, if any.

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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.