What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?
Electroconvulsive Therapy is a treatment for adults 18 years and older who suffer from severe episodes of major depression, persistent suicidal ideation, mania and some types of schizophrenia and who have either not responded to medications or whose symptoms are too severe to permit medication trials. The procedure occurs two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments.
IS ECT EFFECTIVE?
Electroconvulsive Therapy has been proven to be a useful treatment method with more than half of severely treatment-resistant patients achieving remission, according to the National Institutes of Health. Still, there is no guarantee that ECT will be effective. Your doctor will discuss with you why ECT inpatient or ECT outpatient therapy is being recommended and what alternative treatments may be available.
IS ECT SAFE?
Prior to Electroconvulsive Therapy, patients will undergo a physical and psychiatric evaluation to ensure that the treatments can be administered in the most effective manner. Medications may be adjusted to minimize risk and maximize effectiveness. However, all treatments have risks and side effects. The most common side effects of ECT include muscle aches, nausea, short-term memory loss and headaches.
HOW DOES ECT WORK?
At Peachford Hospital, Electroconvulsive Therapy is performed by a team of medical professionals specifically trained in its delivery. This team consists of a psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and nursing staff. The psychiatrist commonly delivers the ECT stimulation. The anesthesia team administers general anesthesia, medications and monitors the patient’s medical status throughout the procedure. After the treatment, nursing staff will continue to monitor the patient’s progress until they return to the inpatient or outpatient unit.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER ECT?
While Electroconvulsive Therapy is an extremely effective treatment, it is only one component of a complete treatment regimen. After your ECT course, medications will likely be required as maintenance therapy to help prevent a return of your illness. ECT cannot resolve other problems associated with personal relationships or how an individual copes with the stressors of life. Other interventions such as psychotherapy may be recommended.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at Peachford Hospital to assess if you are a candidate for ECT treatment. Our Medical Staff will also consult with you on the risks and benefits of ECT treatment if you are a suitable candidate.
We’re Here to Help
Asking for help often feels like a scary hurdle to jump, but we’re here to walk you through it. Take the first step in discovering what life without crisis can feel like. Call Peachford Hospital at 770-455-3200 or visit our facility for a no-cost, confidential assessment by one of our licensed behavioral health professionals. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help determine your individual needs and help find the best program for you or your loved one. For additional questions about our programs, call us or submit your inquiry through our online contact form. In the case of a medical emergency or crisis, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.