What is Electroconvulsive Therapy?
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a procedure that stimulates the brain by means of a small electrical current that passes through electrodes placed on the head. It is widely accepted that ECT treatment is effective in correcting brain chemistry imbalances when other treatments, like psychiatric medications and psychotherapy, have proven ineffective. We offer this program at our Gilbert, AZ facility, located in the greater Phoenix metro area.
What Can I Expect?
ECT therapy is administered by a team of licensed medical professionals, including a physician. The procedure lasts approximately 15 minutes and recovery time is 1-2 hours. The procedure can be done while you are hospitalized or on an outpatient basis.
is administered under short-acting, general anesthesia. After a brief physical
exam by your physician, you will receive an intravenous (IV) line through which
anesthesia and a muscle relaxant can be administered. Electrode pads will be
placed at various points around the forehead based on your physician’s
are resting comfortably under the effects of the anesthesia, your doctor will
initiate a small electrical current that will pass through the electrodes to
your brain. The result is a brief seizure that lasts approximately 60 seconds.
seizure is over, recovery is monitored by your treatment team as the effects of
the anesthesia subside. In most cases, you can return to normal activity within
a few hours after recovery; however, your physician will advise you how to
proceed based on your specific circumstances. Treatments are most effective
when administered in a regular series over a 4-12 week period or longer, depending
on your treatment plan, the severity of your symptoms, and your response to treatment.
Side Effects of ECT
following treatment, you may experience disorientation lasting for a few
minutes up to several hours during the recovery period. On the day of treatment,
side effects may include headache, jaw pain, muscle soreness or nausea, which
can be managed with medication. Some report experiencing
short-term memory loss with respect to events that happened just prior to
treatment; however, memory issues usually improve within four to eight weeks
after treatment ends. Activities may be restricted until memory loss issues
How Does ECT Work?
brain chemicals during and after seizure activity. With a full course of
treatment reaching therapeutic levels, these chemical changes have been shown
to reduce symptoms of severe depression and other mental illnesses. In addition
to ongoing ECT, your treatment may continue to include medications along with
psychological counseling to effectively manage your mental health concerns.
Is It Right for You?
ECT is most commonly used for those with major depression, recurring suicidal ideations, or bipolar and other mood disorders that have not responded to traditional treatments, like medications and psychotherapy. Our experienced mental health professionals can help determine whether this treatment is appropriate for you and connecting to care is simple:
1. Schedule an initial assessment, which generally lasts around one hour.
2. Include accurate information about your treatment history, including past and current medications, during the assessment, which is a confidential conversation between you and a licensed behavioral health professional.
3. Review the individualized treatment plan recommended for you by our medical staff.