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Electroconvulsive therapy

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a series of electric shocks given to your brain through electrodes placed on your scalp. The shocks cause a brief seizure. You won't be awake during treatment (you'll be given a general anaesthetic).

ECT is used very rarely. However, it is sometimes used to treat very severe depression. If you have this as well as OCD, your doctor may suggest ECT.

There hasn't been any good-quality research to say whether ECT helps people with OCD.



A wire or disc through which electric current passes.

general anaesthetic

You may have a type of medicine called a general anaesthetic when you have surgery. It is given to make you unconscious so you don't feel pain when you have surgery.


A seizure (or fit) is when there is too much electrical activity in your brain, which results in muscle twitching and other symptoms.

For more terms related to Obsessive-compulsive disorder


For references related to Obsessive-compulsive disorder click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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