"ECT" stands for electroconvulsive therapy, a medical procedure that involves the passing of electric current through the brain to trigger a brief, controlled seizure, according to Mayo Clinic. It changes brain chemistry and can reverse the symptoms of certain mental illnesses when other treatments have failed.
ECT is especially helpful for severe depression or depression with psychosis, states the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Compared with antidepressant therapy, which can take months to be effective, ECT can have some patients feeling better within a week of beginning treatment. It also appears to be effective in treatment-resistant mania and in some instances of catatonia. It is not indicated for anxiety disorders, personality disorders or substance abuse disorders.