Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

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For patients with depression and/or bipolar disorder, Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital offers a therapeutic treatment option for patients who have been unresponsive or resistant to drug therapy. Electroconvulsive Therapy, commonly referred to as ECT, is one of the most effective procedures used to treat depression bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders, The benefits include the high success rate, the lack of drug-to-drug interactions, none of the concerning side effects present in several medications plus it is a procedure covered by most insurance plans.

Treatments can be done while the patient is in the hospital or as an outpatient procedure. Our experienced psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and ECT nursing staff provide a safe and comfortable environment for the procedure.




What does ECT treat? 

ECT commonly treats severe/chronic depression in individuals for whom medications alone are not effective. Being that there are an array of depressive symptoms in many disorders, ECT can also be treated amongst those with bipolar, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorders, for example.

What are the side effects of ECT? 

Short-term memory loss is related and common to the treatment.  Alteration in comfort is also common, including muscle soreness, joint pain, and/or headache post-ECT.

What is the goal/outcome of ECT? 

The ultimate goal of ECT is to improve mood and functionality in relation to depression. In short,  it is a means of clinically treating chronic/severe depression. An additional goal of ECT is to allow medications to work more effectively. ECT poses medications to have a better effect in treating those with depression.

How many treatments do I need? 

New patients will do an initial series of 12 ECT sessions at HBHH. These will occur every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (3X a week for 4 weeks), unless your attending psychiatrist recommends a different duration/course of treatment.

What happens after my initial 12 ECT series? 

 After the initial 12 ECT treatments, some changes in mood should be noticed.  At this time, you will move into a maintenance phase. Maintenance phases consist of coming for treatment once a week for a period of two weeks, followed by once every other week, and then on a monthly basis, unless your attending psychiatrist recommends a different duration/course of treatment.

Am I a candidate for ECT? 

 You will need to follow up with your attending psychiatrist, as this type of treatment must be clinically assessed to ensure you are an appropriate candidate for ECT treatment. 

 For more information about the procedure or to schedule services, call the ECT Department at 346-701-8586