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Is there a maintenance period for ECT following initial treatments?
I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and after exhausting all alternatives in the realm of medication, I turned to ECT. Thankfully, it has worked. I am currenly going once a month, following my initial 6 treatments. What concerns me is that I begin to see a resurgence of symptoms if I wait more than a month between maintenance treatments. My question has two parts:
A.) Is there a limit to how long I can remain on maintenance?
B.) What is the usual spacing between maintenance treatments (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc..)?
I am very pleased with this course of treatment and would like to continue but am concerned that this may not be an option.
ECT is a very effective treatment for depression and bipolar disorder. Moodstabilizers are generally the mainstay of treatment for bipolar disorder but must be discontinued during ECT as they are also anti-convulsant agents and may interfere with ECT's effectiveness. Maintenance ECT can be indefinate and needs to be individualized; there is no protocol for spacing of treatments but a month is about the longest interim between treatments I have encountered. Please discuss these issues further with your psychiatrist who is administering the ECT. I hope this was helpful. It does sound like your current treatment is effective. Good luck.
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