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Ther Umsch. 2000 Feb;57(2):90-4.

[Electroconvulsive therapy of depressive disorders].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Reinhard-Nieter-Krankenhaus, Wilhelmshaven.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective treatment in all types of major depression. On the other side ECT has long suffered from controversial public image, a reputation that has effectively removed it as treatment option for many patients. Today ECT is an effective and safe treatment for those with severe mental illness. Electroconvulsive therapy has undergone fundamental changes since its introduction 65 years ago. It is no longer a memory-modifying, fearsome treatment pictured in films. Anesthesia, controlled oxygenation, and muscle relaxation make the ECT so safe that the risks are less as those which accompany the use of several psychotropic drugs. Indeed, for the elderly, the systematic ill, and pregnant women, electroconvulsive therapy is a safer treatment for mental illness than any alternative.

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