Est. 2018


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

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ECT Services

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

What is ECT? Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical procedure used to treat some psychiatric illnesses by causing a short, painless, brain seizure under general anesthesia.

Studies suggest ECT leads to the same changes in the brain as antidepressants, but more quickly. ECT is highly effective, with up to 60-90% success rate in severely depressed patients.

Indication for ECT

  • Severe depression (unipolar or bipolar depression)
  • Treatment-resistant depression –this refers to depression that has not improved after several trials of different types of medication and psychotherapy.
  • Severe mania.
  •  A neurologic condition in which patients experience extreme immobility or extreme motor excitement, both of which can be life-threatening.
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

Once a patient is evaluated by the psychiatrist and deemed an appropriate candidate for ECT, HE/SHE will undergo medical work up (physical exam and laboratory tests) and be evaluated by an anesthetist/anesthesiologist.

Health Tips & Info

How Many Sessions

ECT treatment are typically given 3 times a week. A typical series consists of 6 -12 treatments but can be less or more, depending on the patient’s specific illness and response to treatment.

Continuation ECT

Refers to ECT treatments that are given for up to 6 months after the initial ECT series. The goal of continuation ECT is to prevent relapse (i.e. becoming depressed again), which can happen, even after a successful ECT series.

Long term use of ECT beyond 6 month may be recommended. Usually for some patients with multiple and/or severe depressive episodes.


  • The patient must not eat or drink at least 8 hours before the procedure. Some required medications may be taken with sip of water.
  • Patients are advised to wear comfortable clothes. Once they check in, patients are asked to empty their bladder and remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and removable dentures.
  • Upon arrival, the patient’s vital signs are obtained an IV is started and a physical exam is performed.
  • Electrodes are placed on the patient’s body.
  • The patient is put to sleep using general anesthesia. Once the patient is asleep, he/she is given a muscle relaxant in order to relax the body’s muscles and reduce movement. Other medications may be given to reduce oral secretions or to help control heart rate/ blood pressure.
  • Once the patient is completely asleep, a small electrical current is delivered to the scalp to induce a short (usually 20-60 second) controlled seizure. If the seizure last longer than expected, the psychiatrist will stop the seizure using medications.
  • The treatment from the time the patient is asleep to the time the patients wake up is usually only about 10-15 minutes.
  • After the treatment is completed, the patient is monitored by a nurse until they are stable to discharge.

Benefits of ECT

  • 60-90% show significant improvement. Improvement in health–related quality of life.
  • Used in very ill patients, considered as a first-choice treatment whenever a rapid definitive improvement is clinically urgent.
  • Used in depressed patients who are; a high suicide risk, having irrational/psychotic thoughts refusing to eat or drink, or catatonic.

Risks &Side Effects

Given the short period of time that the patient is under anesthesia for ECT, serious/life-threatening risk are very rare common side effect include;

  • Headache
  • Muscle soreness
  • Nausea
  • Temporary memory loss.