McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, including depression, mania, catatonia, and some psychotic illnesses. During the procedure, a mild electrical current is delivered to the brain, which produces a modified seizure. ECT is a safe procedure that causes no pain or discomfort for patients.
ECT has been clinically proven to work. A vast majority of patients show measurable improvement and many report that they feel “like themselves” again after treatment. Experts believe that the improvements may be caused by the seizure changing the amount of certain chemicals in the brain.
ECT is often preferable for patients who don’t respond well to medications, have excessive side effects from medications, or are actively suicidal. Your clinician will help you decide whether or not ECT might be appropriate and beneficial for you and your symptoms.
Patients are welcome to schedule a visit to the ECT suite before beginning treatment. This helps some people feel more comfortable/less anxious about the procedure.
ECT staff includes psychiatrists specially trained in ECT; anesthesiologists from Massachusetts General Hospital; advance practice nurses specially trained in ECT; registered nurses with special training in ECT and post-anesthesia care; mental health specialists who work with the nurses to provide care; and physicians from the Internal Medicine Department who are on call at all times.