Timing and number of treatments

ECT is usually given twice a week for depressive illness, and more frequent administration has no advantage. The number of treatments required in a course of ECT varies considerably, although typically it is 6-10. There is usually a transient improvement for a few hours after each application, which gradually becomes sustained.

Most depressive illnesses are episodes of a recurrent condition, often requiring prophylactic treatment. This is usually with medication, but there are very occasional patients whom only 'maintenance' ECT administered every few weeks can keep from relapse.

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