Exercise the Brain and Amplify its Performance with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Nobody wants to suffer with their mental health, but the truth is, anxiety and depression disorders are rife in the United States. Based on statistics gathered by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), as many as 40 million adults are enduring a daily struggle with mental health and less than 37% of those people will receive the right kind of treatment.

So, who is at risk? A number of risk factors can increase a person’s chances of developing a chemical imbalance in the brain, including traumatic life events, genetics and environmental factors. Children who were raised in care, post-Military workers and particular personality traits, like low self-esteem, can contribute to poor mental health.

Depression and long-term prescription drug use have been linked, so instead of continuously exposing your body to addictive chemicals, consider exercising the brain with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

How to Treat Depression Without Pills

The success rate of antidepressants is difficult to determine, what with so many factors coming into play. However, we can be sure that users may develop a tolerance to antidepressants, resulting in frequent doctor visits. In these instances, ECT therapy could be the answer. Highly therapeutic, ECT is a secondary option for anyone with treatment-resistant anxiety and depression.

If you feel as though you have tried and failed with various prescription drugs for depression, chances are you need something more effective at stimulating the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for controlling behaviors, personality development and mood therefore if it is neglected, symptoms of depression may surface.

How can the brain benefit from ECT?

In more ways than one, actually. Cognitive benefits aside, ECT can enhance a person’s executive functions, which are essential for planning, problem-solving and overall behavior. Increased focus is an added benefit of receiving ECT, as well as higher IQ, sharpened short-term memory and reduced stress levels.

Does ECT have a long-term impact on the brain?

The long-term impacts of electroconvulsive brain stimulation are not entirely clear. Patients who participated in a study on Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) had more memory impairment than healthy subjects who had not received prior treatment. Despite this, the risk:benefit ratio was not much different when viewed from a clinical viewpoint.

Where is the proof that ECT therapy works?

Take the time to scour the web and you will notice how ECT brain stimulation has been making news for years as an alternative therapy. The stigma surrounding ECT may appear somewhat negative in modern culture. After all, ECT is used to induce seizure activity. The controlled procedure was known as “electroshock therapy” in its early days. Nonetheless, fresh evidence depicts ECT in a positive light for reducing/managing persistent depression symptoms.

One particular naturalistic study proved how ECT helped 65.8% of a 38-strong group of patients respond positively – (improvement in HDRS24 of >or=50%). This was after those patients had spent 6.2 years of their life (average) in a depressed state. The study was conducted in Wales, United Kingdom and utilized the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD24).

How long does ECT take to work?

The time it takes for a depressed patient to respond will depend on their brain’s chemical structure and the length of treatments. Typically, treatments will be administered to the patient three times per week for a total of 2-4 weeks. A major reduction in depression may be experienced within one week of receiving treatment, with the success rate of ECT ranging from 70-90%. If ECT fails to produce any positive results, your therapist may recommend a different method of brain therapy.

Is brain stimulation therapy safer than medication?

When other treatments have failed, ECT can be recommended by your doctor. This is not the only option available, however. Below, we outline some other types of depression-relieving brain stimulation therapy:

  • Transcranial Stimulation (TMS) – A special machine and a uniquely designed H-coil are utilized to carry out this non-invasive treatment. TMS targets certain areas of the brain, based on what parts/lobes are inactive in the patient. Sessions are generally completed in less than half an hour each day and will not usually continue past six weeks.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) – Another type of neurological procedure used to ease the symptoms of depression by using electrical impulses is deep brain stimulation (DBS). Electrodes must be implanted into the skull for this procedure to be effective.
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) – Also used to treat chronic depression in adults, VNS utilizes mild electrical energy currents and pulsates them in the direction of the brain. Before the pulses reach the brain, they will pass along the vagus nerve at specific intervals.

Since a consent form must be signed prior to receiving treatment, you can take this opportunity to make sure brain stimulation therapy is absolutely necessary for your mental health needs.

Conclusion

If antidepressants haven’t helped you through your depression, you can ask your doctor about other options for treating your conditions.  There are methods that are FDA approved for severe depression that aren’t antidepressant medication, and you have a right to seek treatment as you need it.

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