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Can J Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;56(1):13-8.

How does electroconvulsive therapy work? Theories on its mechanism.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Copenhagen University Hospital, 9 Blegdamsvej, Copenhagen, Denmark. bolwig@tdcspace.dk

Abstract

This article reviews 3 current theories of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). One theory points to generalized seizures as essential for the therapeutic efficacy of ECT. Another theory highlights the normalization of neuroendocrine dysfunction in melancholic depression as a result of ECT. A third theory is based on recent findings of increased hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in experimental animals given electroconvulsive seizures. Presently, the endocrine theory has the strongest foundation to explain the working mechanism of ECT.

PMID:
21324238
DOI:
10.1177/070674371105600104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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