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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Services

Great clinical strides have been made in the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy to treat patients who have not responded to first-line methods, or whose disorders are extremely severe. Geisinger Medical Center offers Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) on an inpatient and outpatient basis for patients with:

  • Severe depression
  • Mania
  • Schizophrenia
  • Catatonia
  • No improvement in condition with medication treatment (the use of oral anti-depression medication is typically the first course of treatment)

A typical course of therapy begins with a complete medical and psychiatric history, as well as a physical exam to help ensure the safety and effectiveness of ECT for the patient.

Patients who undergo the procedure are sedated and given a muscle relaxant. Under the direct guidance of a Geisinger psychiatrist, anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist, patients receive a direct electrical current to the brain (about 25% of the voltage of cardiac resuscitation).

Treatment usually consists of eight to ten treatments, usually three times a week for a few weeks. If necessary, our specialists can develop an ECT maintenance plan, providing treatments once a week for a few weeks and then once a month for a few months.