ECT is typically used as a treatment option in addition to antidepressants. Unlike antidepressants, which temporarily impact mood and behavior by working through the bloodstream, ECT delivers direct stimulation to the brain. This stimulation helps to release neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. Many experts believe that depression and other mental health conditions are linked to an imbalance of these neurotransmitters. ECT works to restore that balance and can provide a more lasting impact on relieving depression symptoms than using antidepressants alone.
However, because ECT requires the use of anesthesia and causes a controlled seizure, providers will consult with their patients regarding any impact that ECT treatments may have on their current medications.
Mental health treatments are not one-size-fits-all situations. Because of this fact, treatment plans will vary depending on each patient’s unique needs and concerns. Overall, each patient will work closely with their provider to collaborate on a treatment plan that works best for them. And as treatments continue, the treatment plan will be adjusted as needed to make sure patients are continuing on their path to wellness.