Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)? Behavioral Health Services in Northern California

What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?

We hear this question from patients a lot. Electroconvulsive Therapy has historically had a controversial reputation. That’s because when the treatment was introduced over 70 years ago, patients were not always treated well while undergoing therapy.

The good news is that best practices have evolved significantly since then. Today, ECT is a safe, well-regulated, and highly effective treatment. ECT has a high success rate for patients who have not seen improvements through therapy or medication.

ECT may be a treatment option if:

  • You don’t experience significant improvement by taking medication
  • You haven’t had success with other therapeutic approaches
  • You have an intolerance that prevents you from taking medication
  • Your symptoms are severe and accompanied by suicidal thoughts, failure to eat, or psychosis

ECT is typically used for the following conditions:

  • Major depressive disorder (severe depression)
  • Catatonia
  • Mania
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychosis

At Therapeutic Solutions, we are the only practice in the area that provides ECT. Performed by our board-certified psychiatrists in a fully accredited outpatient surgical center, we administer ECT to patients under general anesthesia.

How ECT Actually Works

In a nutshell, here’s what happens during the procedure. Patients receive general anesthesia, so they aren’t awake during the treatment. There are two doctors in the room, a physician and a psychiatrist, both highly qualified and working with state-of-the-art equipment.

Once the patient is asleep, the doctors administer a small amount of electricity to the scalp. The electricity, which is carefully calibrated to the right level, produces a seizure in the brain, which lasts just a few minutes.

The patient doesn’t feel anything at all, but his or her brain chemistry is changing. These changes can provide significant relief from the symptoms of severe depression, catatonia, mania, schizophrenia, and psychosis. The doctors closely monitor the patient until he or she wakes up again. Patients go home and sleep in their own beds the very same night.

We perform ECT in our fully accredited outpatient surgical center, with doctors who provide the most compassionate, high-quality care. Because ECT is such a highly scientific procedure, Therapeutic Solutions is the only provider in the area north of Sacramento to offer this treatment.

Have more questions about ECT? Contact us and we will gladly set up a time to talk through additional details.