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7 Shocking Benefits and Side Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy

Formerly known as electroshock therapy, this treatment for mental disorders dates back to the 1930’s. While no one is certain how or why this therapy works, it seems to be still popular and remains a medical option in the U.S. Advances in how the treatment is delivered has been made, such as using general anesthesia (medically-induced sleep).

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – as it’s now known – involves sending electrical current through the brain, deliberately triggering a seizure. While there have been improvements reported in patients, there are also possible side effects to consider. Let’s look at seven positives and negatives about electrotherapy…

1. Amnesia

The Mayo Clinic explains that following a treatment, a patient may not remember the moments before the therapy, which can extend to weeks, months, or even years of memories that are lost. The specific name for this side effect is retrograde amnesia, notes the source.

The positive is that for most patients, their memory usually bounces back within a couple of months following the end of the treatment. However, sadly that also suggests that some patients will permanently lose life events from their brain.

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