Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a safe clinical treatment that can improve certain mental illnesses. ECT has been studied for decades with numerous clinical research trials validating its efficacy and safety. ECT is one of the most effective therapies available, with remission rates of up to 80%.

How is ECT performed?

A psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and registered nurse specially trained in ECT treatments will be involved in patient care the day of the procedure. The treatment is quick and painless, typically lasting less than 60 seconds.

The treatment is done under anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. This brief seizure causes changes in brain chemistry, which can provide relief from psychiatric symptoms.

ECT is given as a course of treatments. The number needed to successfully treat severe depression ranges from case to case. Even after symptoms improve, it is likely that ongoing treatment to prevent a recurrence will be needed. Ongoing treatment, known as maintenance therapy, can include ECT, antidepressants or other psychiatric medications and/or psychotherapy.

Who may benefit?

  • Individuals who suffer from:
    • severe depression
    • mania
    • catatonia
    • schizophrenia
    • and have not responded to conventional treatment such as medications and therapy
  • Have had multiple hospitalizations and regress rapidly into crisis
  • Are in need of rapid, definitive response because of the severity of a psychiatric or medical condition
  • 18 years or older
To ensure a smooth process for both physician and patient referrals, our ECT Nurse Navigator is available every step of the way. To schedule an assessment or for more information, call (702) 916-5100.