electroconvulsive therapy


Definition of electroconvulsive therapy 

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Also, for chronic recurrent depression that can be difficult to treat, additional options like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be very effective. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Understanding your treatment options for depression," 1 June 2018 The committee should also encourage greater use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). D. J. Jaffe, National Review, "The Way Forward on Federal Mental Health Policy," 18 Dec. 2017 These conclusions miss key clues, Farah says, such as how Hemingway's condition actually worsened after receiving normally curative electroconvulsive therapy, a contradiction that inspired him to start writing his book. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, "Multiple Concussions May Have Sped Hemingway’s Demise, a Psychiatrist Argues," 25 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'electroconvulsive therapy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of electroconvulsive therapy

1943, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of electroconvulsive therapy was in 1943

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electroconvulsive therapy


Medical Definition of electroconvulsive therapy 

: the treatment of mental illness and especially depression by the application of electric current to the head of a usually anesthetized patient that induces unconsciousness and convulsive seizures in the brain abbreviation ECT

called also electric shock, electric shock therapy, electroshock therapy

More from Merriam-Webster on electroconvulsive therapy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about electroconvulsive therapy

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exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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