What is Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT?

Category: Procedures

true

Generic name: Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT

Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy refers to the placement of electrodes on both sides of the head during the administration of electroconvulsive treatments (ECT). Bilateral is considered more effective and is used more commonly than unilateral and bifrontal placement.

Reported purpose & perceived effectiveness
Purpose Patients Evaluations Perceived Effectiveness
Major depressive disorder 27 13
Suicidal thoughts or urges 17 10
Depressed mood 9 10
Bipolar I disorder 3 5
Bipolar disorder 2 3
Bipolar mixed episodes 2 3

Show all 11 reasons taken


  • Major
  • Moderate
  • Slight
  • None
  • Can't tell

Side effects

Side effects as an overall problem

Side effects as an overall problem
Severity Evaluations
Severe
6
Moderate
13
Mild
7
None
0

Commonly reported side effects and conditions associated with Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT

Side effect Patients
Memory problems 12
Headaches 5
Loss of short term memory 5
Memory loss 5
Fatigue 2
Mental confusion 2

Show all 24 reported side effects

Dosages

Based on patients currently having Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT

Dosage Patients
monthly 3
every other week 2
2 times a week 1
every 3 weeks 1
weekly 1
Adherence
Adherence Evaluations
Always 21
Usually 3
Sometimes 0
Never taken as prescribed 2
Burden
Burden Evaluations
Very hard to take 4
Somewhat hard to take 13
A little hard to take 4
Not at all hard to take 5
Cost per month
Cost per month Evaluations
$200+ 3
$100-199 0
$50-99 0
$25-49 0
< $25 10
Not specified 13
Last updated:

2 patient evaluations for Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT

Sep 6, 2010 (Started May 25, 2010)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for stop suicidal depression)
  • Side effects
    Mild (loss of short term memory, depressed mood)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: 1 other Monthly
Advice & Tips: I like the fact that I have no more suicidal thoughts, but I hate that fact that I have no personality and I still have depression. The last 2 times I've had it done, I end up in depression. I'm not happy about anything. I've taken more time off of work to work through the depression and find myself. I feel like a walking zombie. I'm starting to think that is how the psychiatrists would prefer you to be.
Cost: $200+ monthly
Side effects: loss of short term memory, depressed mood

  • 0 helpful marks

Jan 20, 2006 (Started Dec 20, 2005)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for depressed mood)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (mental confusion, loss of short term memory)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: 12 other 2 times a week
Advice & Tips: Sense of smell improved greatly, able to relax completely, mind seemed calm. Some euphoria. Deep restful sleep. Felt much younger again. No aches or pains in body. Able to move without much effort. Weight returned to healthy levels-food tasted good. I forgot almost everything about my life for the first few months, but then started to remember most of it back. A few years are hazy but I hadn't done much those years. Depression completely gone for 6 months, continued good effects for a year. For a few months I was very zoned out during treatment, slept a lot.
Cost: $200+ monthly
Side effects: mental confusion, loss of short term memory

Jan 20, 2003 (Started Dec 20, 2005)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for depressed mood)
  • Side effects
    Moderate
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Advice & Tips: I didn't like the first few treatments. Got nasty headache and sick to my stomach. Also, confusion built up. I lost the ability to recall anything from memory. The memories were still there-but I couldn't get to them unless something or someone reminded me. There are much newer forms of this treatment which cause little to no memory loss-but they require very new machines which use very brief pulses of current and a skilled doctor (this is the difference between ECT working and not working). Might only report a few hours of temporary confusion which clears up. Anyone interested check out ultra brief pulse ECT. For depression and general well being, I've found nothing is better. My quality of life went through the ceiling. I only wish I had done it sooner. Just watch out for memory loss if going with traditional ECT. Write down things that you want to remember, who people are, what you did on what dates, meaning of photos-you should then recall whatever you forgot. Getting back the memory means having something to jog it. If memory loss is a big issue (it wasn't for me-I had nothing but depression to remember) stick with the newest forms of it. Don't worry about the naysayers. Also make doubly sure your insurance will actually pay for it.
Cost: $200+ monthly
Side effects: mental confusion, loss of short term memory

  • 3 helpful marks
Last updated:
Showing 2 of 2 patient evaluations for Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT