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The Mechanism of Action of ECT 

The Mechanism of Action of ECT
The Mechanism of Action of ECT
Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children and Adolescents

Max Fink


Several decades of ECT use have enabled us to understand those elements of the ECT treatment procedure that appear to be associated with clinical effectiveness, and have also witnessed the emergence of a large number of theories to explain the treatment’s mechanism of action. This chapter considers each of those issues in turn. The production of a generalized grand mal seizure is the key to effective treatment with ECT. The most viable theory to explain the treatment’s action is the neuroendocrine theory, and that theory may be particularly pertinent in childhood and adolescence, a period characterised by major endocrine changes.

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