Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)IBH offers electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as an effective method for a variety of treatment resistant mental health disorders. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the safest and most effective treatments for depression and is now being used to treat a variety of disorders such as Parkinson's disease. It is also used as a first line treatment for an actively suicidal patient when waiting for a medication response may take too long. ECT is performed under general anesthesia and electrodes are placed on the scalp, thereby applying an electric stimulus to produce a generalized seizure which changes the chemicals in the brain. A typical course of ECT consists of 8 to 10 treatments administered 2 to 3 times per week. ECT is administered to an estimated 100,000 people a year, in both outpatient and inpatient mental health settings. Positive response rates to ECT can be as high as 90%.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, ECT can be beneficial and safe in the following situations:

  • When a need exists for rapid treatment response
  • When a patient refuses food leading to nutritional deficiencies
  • When a patient's depression is resistant to medication therapy
  • When other medical ailments prevent the use of antidepressant or other psychiatric medications
  • When the patient is in a catatonic stupor
  • When depression is accompanied by psychosis and/or mania
  • When treating patients who have a severe risk of suicide
  • When treating patients who have had a previous positive response to ECT
  • When treating schizophrenia and psychosis