All about seismotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy

Seismotherapy is a method of electrotherapy. It consists of delivering a variable intensity of electric current. It is a method mainly used in psychiatry. It is also known as electroconvulsive therapy.

The principle of the method is as follows: First the convulsive crisis will lead to the secretion of different neurohormones and neurotransmitters. Like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. This is due to the fact that the body will have a defense and survival reflex.

The substances secreted will then stimulate the neurons and will promote the creation of new neural connections. There will then be an improvement in the formation of neurons or neurogenesis. This means a multiplication of dendrites and synapses.

Who invented this method?

Doctor Hugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini developed this technique. It was in March 1938 that the first electric shock was practiced by Hugo Cerletti in Rome. The first results were communicated to the Italian Medical Academy in April the same year. The new method then replaced the Cardiazol shock. A very painful but effective technique for fight severe depression.

The method is not practiced by all establishments. This is due to its competition with antidepressant drugs. However, the seismotherapy is a well tolerated and painless treatment.

In which case should it be used?

She can treat major depression and bipolarity in acute manic attack. Certain forms of schizophrenia can also be treated with the method.

It can be used as a first or second option depending on medical recommendations. But in the event of a vital risk, it takes priority. As a serious deterioration of the general state or a suicidal risk. It is also the same if the other therapeutic forms were ineffective on the patient.

Its short-term effectiveness in people with major depression is 85% to 90%.

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How does a seismotherapy session take place?

I’application of seismotherapy requires the presence of an anesthesiologist and a psychiatrist. As for the place, we join one of the practicing establishments. It can be done on an outpatient basis or during hospitalization.

A prior consultation by the patient is essential for the various adjustments.

The patient must have an empty bladder and must be fasting. He will be put under short general anesthesia for 10 to 15 minutes. He was then injected with curare. It is a substance that paralyzes the muscles. Allowing to prevent muscle seizuresdental and osteo-articular injury to the patient is avoided.

Psychiatrists place the electrodes on the patient’s skull. It’s for monitoring his brain activity during the procedure. A low current of 0.8 amps will then be delivered for less than 8 seconds. It is repeated in order to cause a convulsive crisis of about thirty seconds. Once finished, we wait for the patient to wake up in the recovery room. He will be a little confused but will not feel any pain. In case of headaches, a mild analgesic will be prescribed.


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