What is ECT?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for patients who are experiencing major depression, bipolar disorder (manic or depressed), mood disorders with psychosis, catatonia and refractory schizophrenia. ECT is typically offered to patients with depression symptoms that do not respond to medications, patients experiencing suicidality or grossly disorganized behavior which requires urgent treatment and patients experiencing medical complications such as inadequate nutritional intake caused by depression. During ECT, patients undergo a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while under anesthesia. This procedure is repeated 3 times per week for 2-4 weeks. Approximately 80% of patients experience a marked improvement in their depression with ECT. While ECT is proven to be a very effective treatment, it is not a cure. Patients will either continue with a maintenance series of ECT, medication therapy and/or psychotherapy after they complete an acute series of ECT.

ECT Procedure

Led by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of a psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and nurses, patients undergo a brief stimulation of the brain while under anesthesia. This induces a brief seizure which has been shown to change the activity of the brain. The patient does not experience any discomfort during the procedure. The procedure only takes a few minutes and the patient awakens within 5-10 minutes.

Side Effects: Some patients may experience confusion, disorientation and memory loss, especially following an ECT procedure. These side effects are typically only short-term and improve over time.

Referral Process

MWMC offers both inpatient and outpatient ECT. This service also accepts transfers from outside inpatient facilities. We offer both acute and maintenance series.

If you are interested in ECT, please talk with your psychiatrist or primary care provider for a referral or contact us at 508-650-7380. Additionally, you may fill out our ECT referral form and fax it back to us at 508-650-7128.

ECT Referral Form





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