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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective treatment for treatment-resistant patients (those who do not respond to alternative treatments)  for delusional depression, schizoaffective psychosis with severe depressed mood, unipolar depression with high suicide risk, acute life-threatening (pernicious) catatonia, and also offers a very good treatment option for many therapy-resistant (pharmacoresistant) psychiatric disorders such as acute exacerbated schizophrenic psychosis, and mania. In electroconvulsive therapy, after detailed medical information and after the patient's consent, the patient is put under a short anesthesia, the muscles are relaxed so that no muscle movements occur, and the patient is ventilated with oxygen during this time. Brief electrical stimulation of the brain via two electrodes triggers an epileptic seizure. According to current knowledge, this results in a change in the neurotransmitter systems relevant to depression. The benefit-to-risk ratio for ECT is exceptionally good.

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Ina Kluge
            Email: Ina.Kluge ~at

  • Dr. Ulrich Schu
            Email: Ulrich.Schu ~at

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Tilo Kircher
            Email: psychiat ~at

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Jansen
            Email: Andreas.Jansen ~at

  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Hamidreza Jamalabadi
            Email: hamidreza.jamalabadi ~at

We are currently working towards better understanding the mechanisms underlying therapeutic effects. This project is supported by the core facility Neuroimaging and Psychiatric Control Systems Lab (AG Computational Psychiatry).