Therapy We Provide
What is ECT?
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure that emits small electric currents through the brain to trigger changes in brain chemistry that can rapidly reverse the symptoms of mental illnesses.
ECT is conducted under anesthesia, so the patient does not feel pain associated with a briefly triggered seizure.
Who benefits from ECT?
ECT can relieve or lessen many symptoms of several mental health conditions such as:
- Severe depression with detachment from reality, refusal to eat, or desire to commit suicide
- Catatonia with lack of movement, lack of speech or fast, irregular movements
- Treatment-resistant depression
- Severe mania with impaired decision-making, impulsive behavior, substance abuse, agitation, extended euphoria or hyperactivity
- Aggression and agitation associated with dementia
Who should get ECT?
A doctor can recommend ECT after other medication and treatment options have been found ineffective. ECT can be an option for some patients with the mental health conditions and symptoms described above and others:
Patients who are pregnant and unwilling to take medication that can threaten fetal health
Elderly or older adults who cannot tolerate prescription medication side effects
Other patients who prefer to not take medication
Patients with past success with ECT
Before suggesting ECT, a physician will evaluate a patient’s medical history, physical exam, psychiatric assessment, blood tests, heart health, and risks for anesthesia complications.
How is ECT performed?
ECT requires inducing a seizure by passing a small electric current from an ECT machine to the patient’s brain. The passing current induces a seizure that lasts less than a minute. Upon seizing, brain activity is heightened and then normalized. Once an electroencephalogram (EEG) shows normal brain activity, patients are taken to the recovery area.
How soon will my symptoms go away?
An average of six treatments is needed to produce noticeable relief from severe mental health symptoms. ECT effectiveness varies from patient to patient, and a full improvement timeline is unclear, if achievable at all.
To learn more about ECT and if it is a good option for your mental health conditions and symptoms, reach out to Strategic Mental Health.
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