If your current treatment plan isn’t effectively combating your symptoms, or if you’ve been resistant to other treatment modalities in the past, it may be time to ask your doctor about electroconvulsive therapy.
Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is the method of inducing tiny seizures in the brain via small electrical currents, and may be effective in treating those suffering from:
Major depressive disorder
When It’s Time to Start Considering ECT
As mentioned, if there has been no elevation in your mood via other treatments, ECT may be right for you. It’s important to keep your psychiatrist informed of your mood throughout the day, so be sure to log dates and times of any mood fluctuations you may encounter.
Electroconvulsive therapy provides much more immediate results than medication, which can take time before any improvement is apparent.
So what kinds of people could benefit most from a round of ECT versus conventional treatment?
Elderly patients who are intolerant to antidepressants.
Pregnant women whose gestating fetus could be damaged by medication.
Those who are an immediate threat to their own safety.
Patients who are suffering from a severe manic or schizophrenic episode.
In short, ECT is considered a safe, non-invasive treatment plan that provides considerably faster relief from mental health symptoms. About 50% of those who underwent ECT report that it was effective, but follow-up treatment is poorly researched, and relapse is common if treatment is not continued.
What to Expect Before and During Your First ECT Session
Prior to your first ECT appointment, patients are typically asked not to have any food or drink starting at midnight the day before treatment.
The patient is placed under anesthesia and given a muscle relaxant prior to being connected to the ECT machine via four electrodes: two for monitoring your brain waves, and two for delivering the electroshocks.
The administration of the ECT is a very individual process, and may focus on either one hemisphere of the brain or both. Your doctor may also consider how many weekly sessions are required and make adjustments to your ECT administration based on your brainwave activity.
Patients typically awaken 5-10 minutes after treatment is completed, at which time they are moved to a recovery room. Once their blood pressure, pulse, and breathing return to normal pre-treatment levels, the patient is free to leave. This final process can take 20-30 minutes.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you experience any discomfort or memory loss during any stage of treatment.
How North End Psychiatry Can Help
North End Psychiatry is the only office in Boise whose electroconvulsive therapy treatment is administered by licensed psychiatrists. Even further, we also have licensed psychopharmacologists who can get you the most effective medicine to combat your mental health symptoms in between sessions.
If you’d like to set up an appointment or have any questions or concerns regarding ECT or anything else, send us an email or give us a call today. Our office is conveniently located just outside of downtown Boise near 15th and State Street. We’d love to hear from you.