Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health as a successful treatment option for severe depression, bipolar disorder, some forms of schizophrenia and catatonia. ECT can relieve the symptoms of these illnesses including, depressed mood, lack of interest, appetite and weight disturbances, sleep disturbances, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, loss of self­ esteem and thoughts of suicide.

ECT has been used for over 70 years and in the United States about 100,000 individuals are estimated to receive ECT each year. Frequently, ECT is given when patients have not responded to psychotherapy or pharmacological therapy or if medications are less safe or not well tolerated.  ECT is usually the treatment of choice if a patient has responded well in the past. It is considered when time is a factor; especially if a patient is suicidal or medical conditions make it important that a patient recover quickly and fully. Therefore, ECT can be a lifesaving treatment because it is rapidly effective, even when other treatments fail.

At TrustPoint Hospital a treatment team consisting of the attending Psychiatrist who is certified in ECT, Anesthesiologist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Respiratory Therapist, Registered Nurses and Patient Care Technicians are involved with the ECT treatment. The treatments are administered in  a suite especially equipped for this procedure. ECT is given as a course of treatments on an inpatient or outpatient basis dependent upon a patient’s specific needs.  The total number of ECT treatments needed to successfully treat psychiatric disturbances varies from patient to patient. The typical range for depression is from six to twelve treatments, but some patients may require less while others require more.