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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health as a successful treatment option for severe depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The experienced psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses at Windmoor Healthcare have received extensive training on how to conduct a safe and effective ECT procedure as possible.

A potential candidate for the ECT may show signs of sadness, despair, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, or inability to sleep. The procedure can work faster than psychiatric medications and psychotherapy and may provide life-saving results where other treatments have failed. Today, as many as 100,000 people in the United States receive ECT each year.

The procedure normally takes around two hours from admission to discharge.

Steps of the Procedure

  1. A small intravenous (IV) catheter is put in the patient’s arm or hand by a registered nurse or anesthesiologist.
  2. An anesthetic and strong muscle relaxant are given through the IV to make the patient gently fall asleep.
  3. A small, precisely calculated dose of electricity is delivered from two electrodes to induce a closely monitored procedure in the sleeping patient. (A mouthguard protects the teeth and tongue.)
  4. The patient wakes up approximately 10 to 15 minutes later without discomfort.
  5. The patient is carefully observed in the recovery room until discharge.

Frequency of ECT

The average patient will usually receive six to twelve ECT treatments about two or three times a week.  Most patients remain well many months after treatment though monthly or bimonthly treatment is an option to maintain remission.

Side Effects of ECT

It is common for patients to experience mild confusion after treatment. A patient may wake up not remembering where he or she is or why he or she received ECT. This generally lasts from a few minutes to several hours. Often patients describe their thinking as “ hazy” or “cloudy” after the procedure.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away

We cannot offer diagnosis, counseling, or recommendations online, but an assessment and referral specialist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 727-541-2646. If you are currently experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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