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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Program

What is Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a treatment option for adults, ages 18 and older, who suffer from severe episodes of major depression, persistent suicidal ideation, catatonia, and some types of schizophrenia and who have either not responded to medications or whose symptoms are too severe to permit medication trials. Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center’s staff of psychiatrists, anesthesiologists and registered nurses have been extensively trained in ECT, providing our patients with the very best care in a secure, compassionate environment. ECT is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

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/or medication.

The procedure occurs two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments.

Is ECT Effective?

Electroconvulsive Therapy is a useful treatment method with more than half of severely treatment-resistant patients achieving remission, according to the National Institutes of Health. Your doctor will discuss with you why ECT inpatient or ECT outpatient therapy is being recommended and what alternative treatments may be available.

How Does ECT work?

At  Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center, 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, and we would be more than happy to walk you through the next steps. 

Is ECT Safe?

There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. 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. Consult with your doctor to learn more. 

Am I Eligible for ECT?

Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center to assess if you are a candidate for ECT treatment. Our staff will also consult with you on the risks and benefits of ECT treatment if you are a suitable candidate. The most common side effects of ECT include muscle aches, nausea, short-term memory loss and headaches.

Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health can help. For more information or make an appointment regarding this treatment option, Please contact our ECT Nurse Manager at 954-734-2000 (ext. 2261 or 2063).

ECT at Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center is currently available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To send over any clinical information, please use fax number: 954-734-2172.

There are risks associated with any treatment procedure and individual results may vary. Please consult the dedicated professionals within the ECT program at Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center 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.