A severely depressed and suicidal client agrees
to several rounds of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). When she
returns to her outpatient clinic, she reports that her symptoms of
depression have lifted, but that she doesn't remember much about
the weeks when she was receiving ECT. Her response to this
A. Typical; ECT often causes some short-term memory
B. An indication that the depression really hasn't
lifted at all.
C. An indication that she is very conflicted about the
treatment; the clinician needs to help her work through these
D. Critical; she needs to see her psychiatrist as soon
as possible to prevent permanent brain damage.
What's your answer?
Let's take a look at rationales from the bottom up.
D. ECT is not associated with lasting or progressive brain
damage. The client might find it reassuring to speak to her
psychiatrist about her concerns, but there's no medical
C. Other than having some questions about side effects, the
client does not appear conflicted about or hostile towards the
B. The client says her symptoms of depression have lifted, and
there's no reason for the clinician to doubt her.
A. ECT is often associated with short-term memory loss. The
memories of this time period may or may not return to the
So there you have it.
One of the side effects of ECT is some short-term memory loss.
These memories may or may not return over time. The client is not
in any danger and appears to be doing well after the
Now you know. Want to know more? Here's the
Mayo Clinic's ECT info page.
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