Outpatient 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.
A potential candidate for 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.
Outpatient ECT is offered at our Clearwater location. Visit our contact page for the phone number and address of each facility. The procedure normally takes around two hours from admission to discharge.
Steps of the Procedure
- A small intravenous (IV) catheter is put in the patient’s arm or hand by a registered nurse or anesthesiologist.
- An anesthetic and strong muscle relaxant are given through the IV to make the patient gently fall asleep.
- 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.)
- The patient wakes up approximately 10 to 15 minutes later without discomfort.
- The patient is carefully observed in the recovery room until discharge.
Frequency of ECT
A patient usually receives six to twelve ECT treatments 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.