1. ECT uses an electrical current to create a therapeutic seizure, which causes a dramatic reset of the brain. Formerly known as "shock therapy".
2. Ten sessions over a four week period. The first three sessions require hospitalization.
3. When previous attempts at treating depression have produced unsatisfactory results, or the depression is serious, possibly suicidal, or when nothing else works. Psychiatrist prescribed.
4. Treatment requires anesthesia & muscle relaxants (hospitalization for the first three treatments). Transportation has to be arranged to and from each session; treatments are short, but patients require 2-3 hours to recover and re-orient themselves.
5. $2,500/session or $25,000 for treatment, plus one week of hospital care, which is not included. (Answers.com estimates $50,000 for a week in the hospital).
6. Most insurers cover the treatment.
7. Headaches, muscle aches, cognition issues, short-term memory issues, possible long-term loss, possible improvement in memory in some cases.
8. 50-80% initial efficacy, however, about 64-84% of people who respond relapse within six months.
9. After treatment, drug therapy/medication is usually continued, and some patients receive maintenance ECT.