What happens during ECT?

Before the treatment starts, you will lie on a bed and your jewellery, shoes and any dentures will be removed and kept safe for you.
You will be given a general anaesthetic injection, once you are comfortable.
Once the anaesthetic takes effect and you are unconscious, you will be given an injection of muscle relaxant to stop your body from convulsing during the treatment. You will also be given oxygen through a face mask or tube. This is needed because of the muscle relaxant.
Two padded electrodes will be placed on your temples. You will either have one placed on each side of your head (bilateral ECT), or both placed on the same side of your head (unilateral ECT) – there is more information about this below.
A mouth guard will be placed in your mouth, to stop you biting your tongue.
The ECT machine will deliver a series of brief, high-voltage electrical pulses. This will cause you to stiffen slightly, and there may be some twitching movements in the muscles of your face, hands and feet. The seizure should last for 20 to 50 seconds.

Mind Information sheet: What are ECT Sessions like?

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