ECT stands for electroconvulsive therapy, otherwise known as shock therapy. Electrodes are placed at several locations on the skull and a small pulse of electricity is sent through the electrodes into the brain. This causes a seizure, generally of twenty to thirty seconds in duration. Despite its scary reputation, ECT is very effective in severe depression. It is particularly effective in melancholic depression or depression with a lot of neurovegetative symptoms. This refers to the physical symptoms of depression, such as loss of energy, sleep and appetite disturbance, impaired concentration, and physical slowing. The side effect profile of ECT is reasonable, especially if done infrequently. The most common side effect is loss of memory from around the time of the treatments. ECT is frequently used in the elderly.