ECT stigma undeserved, psychiatrists say

A new type of electroconvulsive therapy is revolutionising the treatment of severe depression and should help to shake off the stigma associated with the method, say psychiatrists.

Up to 10,000 Australians with severe depression who have not responded to first-line treatments could benefit from ultrabrief pulse right unilateral ECT, according to researchers from the school of psychiatry at the University of NSW.

Ultrabrief stimulation uses shorter pulses of electrical current (0.3ms) than standard ECT (0.5-1.5ms) to activate the prefrontal cortex without causing the cognitive side effects commonly associated