Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a FDA approved treatment for mood and psychotic disorders that have proven resistant to medications. This procedure provides rapid relief of symptoms but is typically reserved for severe or refractory cases of severe depression, bipolar mania, psychosis, or catatonia. There are many patients for whom no other treatment is effective.
ECT uses a small electric current to stimulate the brain and generates a seizure while the patient is under anesthesia and muscle relaxation. This procedure is done in the hospital after a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation. The effects can be long lasting. However, a subset of patients require maintenance treatments after the initial course of therapy.
Common side effects include transient confusion, headache, and muscle aches. A small subset of patients report mild to moderate memory loss for recent events. Rarely more serious conditions could occur. A less invasive alternative to ECT is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Please call to set up an evaluation to determine whether ECT treatment is right for you.