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 ETC treatments when medication or other typical treatments aren’t working.
ECT is very effective and works faster than antidepressant medication in improving the symptoms of major depression and suicidal ideation. At the Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI), ECT is one of several therapies we use to treat mental disorders that have not responded to traditional forms of therapy.
ECT is normally an outpatient treatment. The recovery period is usually about an hour and patients can return home with the help of a caregiver. It has proven to be successful for patients who are at risk to themselves, are acutely suicidal and need to be stabilized quickly. It is also perfectly safe for pregnant women who are having significant problems with depression.
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. The Psychiatric Research Institute at UAMS is one of only two centers in Arkansas to offer ECT to patients. The effectiveness of the therapy and its safety has led to its increased use and success around the world.