At Park Royal Hospital in Fort Myers, we have a six-bed ECT suite that is equipped with the most current technology and staffed by a specially trained team.
What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective form of treatment for clinical depression. ECT is used to treat depression that is resistant to other modalities of treatment, including medication and psychotherapy.
- ECT is a safe and effective form of treatment for depression.
- ECT is one of the fastest ways to relieve symptoms in severely depressed or suicidal patients.
- It’s also very effective for patients who suffer from bipolar disorder, catatonia, and some psychotic states.
- ECT is not a last resort; it can be used in any stage of depression.
- ECT does not replace medications or therapy. It is used to enhance the effectiveness of the modalities in patients who are resistant or partially responding to other treatments.
- Some sources have stated that the response rate of ECT is higher compared to the use of medication alone.
- The effects of ECT can last for months and years after the course of treatment.
- Some patients may require maintenance treatment for prevention of recurrent episodes.
- ECT can be administered both with inpatients and outpatients.
Misconceptions about ECT
It is a misconception that ECT is used as a “quick fix” in place of long-term therapy or hospitalization. It is also incorrect to believe that the patient is painfully “shocked” out of depression. Although ECT has been used since the 1940s, it generally remains misunderstood by the public. Unfavorable news reports and media coverage have contributed to the controversies surrounding the treatment.
How is ECT Performed?
Prior to ECT treatment, a patient is given a muscle relaxant and is put to sleep with general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp, and a finely controlled electric stimulus is applied. This results in a seizure-like activity within the brain. Because the muscles are relaxed, the visible effects of the seizure are limited to slight movements of the hands and feet. The patient is carefully monitored during the treatment. The patient awakens minutes later, not remembering the treatment.