Also called: ECT
Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Your doctor may suggest electroconvulsive therapy treatments when medication or other typical treatments aren’t working.
Electroconvulsive therapy is a primary treatment choice for treatment-resistant depression, psychotic depression and acute suicidality. Also, it can be an ideal choice for severe depression during pregnancy and afterwards (postpartum depression), thereby allowing minimal exposure of the baby to medications.
Electroconvulsive therapy is very effective and works faster than antidepressant medication in improving the symptoms of major depression and suicidal ideation. At UAMS Health, electroconvulsive therapy is one of several therapies we use to treat mental disorders that have not responded to traditional forms of therapy.
Electroconvulsive therapy is normally an outpatient treatment. The treatment involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain conducted while the patient is under anesthesia. The recovery period is usually about an hour and patients can return home with the help of a caregiver.
Most patients receive six to 12 treatments to begin with, and the treatments are tapered down in frequency while the patient is watched for stabilization. Depending on the patient’s progress, some come back for follow-up treatments while other patients may remain symptom free.
UAMS Health is one of only two centers in Arkansas to offer electroconvulsive therapy to patients. The electroconvulsive therapy team of medical professionals at UAMS Health includes a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse, all highly trained and experienced.
The effectiveness of the therapy and its safety has led to its increased use and success around the world.