Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a potentially life-changing procedure if you have major depression or anxiety disorder that hasn’t responded to other forms of treatment. At Human Touch Behavioral Health in Sacramento, California, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Archana Trivedi provides ECT as part of the practice’s intensive outpatient program. For more information, call Human Touch Behavioral Health today.
ECT is a form of treatment that involves stimulating the brain with small, controlled electric currents. The currents induce brief seizures. ECT causes changes in your brain chemistry — including areas that control mood — leading to a fast and dramatic reduction of symptoms.
ECT is most commonly a treatment for major depression. It’s also effective for treating symptoms of both mania and depression. Dr. Trivedi may recommend ECT if you’ve tried standard forms of treatment, including medication and psychotherapy, and your condition hasn’t improved.
At Human Touch Behavioral Health, Dr. Trivedi provides ECT consultation which includes detailed discussion regarding the benefits and side-effects of the procedure for each individual patient.
Is ECT safe?
There are many misconceptions about ECT, especially about its safety and effects on cognitive functioning. This is largely based on outdated information and harmful, sensational, stereotypical depictions in popular culture.
ECT has existed in some form since the mid-20th century and is now a safe, standardized, modern procedure. Dr. Trivedi performs ECT under full anesthesia, so you’re asleep during the procedure, and uses small doses of electrical currents. She ensures that you receive a lesser number of treatments and receive maximum benefits from it.
Another common misconception is that ECT causes lasting damage to your memory and other mental abilities. ECT does, however, carry the risk of some temporary memory loss, meaning you may:
It’s important to stress that ECT doesn’t require choosing between your mood and permanent cognitive abilities. Further, ECT has a minimal risk of serious physical complications. You may have side effects such as a headache or nausea after a session, especially as you adjust at the beginning of your treatment.
You undergo a series of ECT treatments before experiencing any benefits. Depending on your symptoms, you receive two to three treatments a week over the course of three to four weeks — six to 12 treatments total.
Your symptoms may improve as soon as your sixth treatment. Electroconvulsive therapy can produce dramatic results for people who haven’t benefited from first-line treatments like medication in the past.