ECT Therapy: How It Works, And What Potential Patients Need To Know

The mention of electroconvulsive¬†therapy (ECT) conjures up negative images for many, but fortunately, the therapy in practice is far different than what’s been portrayed in movies and other popular media over the past few decades. ECT is safe, effective, and painless (as patients are asleep during treatment). Here, we’ll explore the basics of ECT.

What conditions are ECT best suited for?

Several mental health conditions can be treated by ECT, including severe depression, treatment-resistant depression, catatonia, severe mania, and agitation and aggression in people who are experiencing dementia.

Who makes a potentially good patient for ECT?

People who have tried other treatment methods for depression without success may be good candidates for ECT. People who are pregnant and cannot take certain medications, older adults who can’t take certain medications, and other people who cannot or do not want to take medication for depression and other mental health conditions may also be good candidates for ECT.

Does insurance typically cover ECT?

Usually, health insurance (including Medicaid and Medicare) covers the cost of ECT.

How are treatments administered?

ECT is given under general anesthesia. Patients receive both anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. Electrodes are placed on the scalp and an electrical current is administered. This safe, procedure creates a brief convulsion. Upon awakening, they have no memory of the procedure. Often, medication is recommended in conjunction with ECT for maximum benefit.

If you are interested in a consultation for ECT through Arkansas Psychiatric Clinic, please contact APC’s office. If a decision is made to undergo the treatment, arrangements will be made to do so at The BridgeWay Hospital in North Little Rock.

Additional Reading on ECT

Ketamine vs. ECT for Depression

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) reduces the risk of death from all causes in seniors

Despite the stigma, ECT remains a gold standard



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