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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy Treatment (ECT)

For adults ages 18 and older, we offer Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) as a form of treatment for major depression and bipolar disorder, as well as other issues.

Inpatient or outpatient ECT can be particularly useful among people suffering from depression or acute mania, those who cannot take anti-depressants due to health problems or lack of response and some suicidal patients who cannot wait for antidepressants to take effect.

In recent years, medicine has vastly improved the diagnosis and treatment options available for those suffering from mental illness. New therapies and medications have helped countless people recover from debilitating psychiatric problems that were previously thought untreatable. Despite these advances, not everyone experiences the same success. Electroconvulsive Therapy is an option for patients who have not responded to traditional therapies and medication.

What is Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Electroconvulsive Therapy is a treatment for adults 18 years and older who suffer from severe episodes of major depression, persistent suicidal ideation, mania and some types of schizophrenia and who have either not responded to medications or whose symptoms are too severe to permit medication trials. The procedure occurs two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments.

Is ECT Effective?

Electroconvulsive Therapy has been proven to be a useful treatment method with more than half of severely treatment-resistant patients achieving remission, according to the National Institutes of Health. Still, there is no guarantee that ECT will be effective. Your doctor will discuss with you why ECT inpatient or ECT outpatient therapy is being recommended and what alternative treatments may be available.

Is ECT Safe?

Prior to Electroconvulsive Therapy, patients will undergo a physical and psychiatric evaluation to ensure that the treatments can be administered in the most effective manner. Medications may be adjusted to minimize risk and maximize effectiveness. However, all treatments have risks and side effects. The most common side effects of ECT include muscle aches, nausea, short-term memory loss and headaches.

Am I Eligible for ECT?

There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at The BridgeWay to assess if you are a candidate for ECT therapy. Our Medical Staff will also consult with you on the risks and benefits of ECT treatment if you are a suitable candidate.

How Does ECT work?

At The BridgeWay, Electroconvulsive Therapy is performed by a team of medical professionals specifically trained in its delivery. This team consists of a psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and nursing staff. The psychiatrist commonly delivers the ECT stimulation. The anesthesia team administers general anesthesia, medications and monitors the patient’s medical status throughout the procedure. After the treatment, nursing staff will continue to monitor the patient’s progress until they return to the inpatient or outpatient unit.

What to Expect after ECT?

While Electroconvulsive Therapy is an extremely effective treatment, it is only one component of a complete treatment regimen. After your ECT course, medications will likely be required as maintenance therapy to help prevent a return of your illness. ECT cannot resolve other problems associated with personal relationships or how an individual copes with the stressors of life. Other interventions such as psychotherapy may be recommended.

What is Major Depression?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes Major Depression as “a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care,” a mental illness that over 7% of the population of the United States has dealt with in the past year. This is more than occasionally feeling sad and is instead a pattern of issues that could require antidepressant medications or ECT. 

Symptoms according to NAMI: 

  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
  • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

Causes according to NAMI:

  • Trauma
  • Genetics
  • Life circumstances
  • Brain changes
  • Other medical conditions
  • Drug and alcohol misuse

What is Bipolar Disorder?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes Bipolar Disorder as “a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly.” ECT inpatient or ECT outpatient treatment can be used to treat bipolar disorder. 

Symptoms according to NAMI:

  • Mania
  • Depression

Causes according to NAMI:

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Brain function

Inpatient or Outpatient ECT Treatment Based on Your Needs

We provide outpatient or inpatient ECT under the close supervision of an experienced physician in North Little Rock, Arkansas. There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. The most common side effects of ECT include muscle aches, nausea, short-term memory loss and headaches.

The staff at The BridgeWay is committed to educating patients and their families about the risks and benefits of ECT services. Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at The BridgeWay to assess if you are a candidate for ECT treatment. Our medical staff will also consult with you on the risks and benefits of ECT treatment if you are a suitable candidate.

There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at The BridgeWay to assess if you are a candidate for ECT treatment. Our Medical Staff will also consult with you on the risks and benefits of ECT treatment if you are a suitable candidate.

ECT Staff

Robert Jarvis, MD

Dr. Jarvis, Medical Director of Adult Psychiatry
ECT Practitioner

 

John Schay, MD

Dr. Schay
Medical Director of Substance Use Treatment, Adults
ECT Practitioner

 

Jonathan Evins, MSN, RN
ECT Nursing Supervisor

We’re Just a Phone Call Away

We cannot offer a diagnosis, counseling or recommendations online. We offer confidential assessments at no-cost on-site or through mobile services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please call 800-245-0011. If you need immediate medical assistance, contact 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.