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Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy provides electrical stimulation to the brain while a patient is under anesthesia in an effort to affect the brain chemistry that influences mental health. It may require a varying number of treatments.

HCAHealthcare_Specialty_MentalHealthAndWellness_ElectroconvulsiveTherapy

Specialized electroconvulsive therapy

At HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, we make sure you have access to the advanced treatment options you need to improve your mental and emotional health.

We understand symptoms can vary in severity, which is why our treatment options are personalized on a case-by-case basis. At our hospital, these treatment plans can include electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, which is a safe and valuable treatment option for certain mental health conditions, such as acute mania, severe depression and mood disorders.

Need help finding a doctor?

We can help you get a physician referral to our behavioral health program; just call us any time on our 24-hour help line.

We can help you get a physician referral to our behavioral health program; just call us any time on our 24-hour help line.

About our ECT treatments

ECT is a proven, safe and effective treatment option for patients with severe mental health symptoms.

When ECT can be used

Although it won't be used in all circumstances, we may recommend it when a rapid response is needed, if ECT has previously been helpful or when alternative treatment options have been ineffective. For example, when you have an inability to tolerate the side effects of medication.

Effectiveness of ECT

Many people who receive mental health care at our hospital see improvement in their symptoms within two to three weeks of receiving ECT treatments. An ECT series usually consists of six to 12 treatments that can be administered on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

What to expect before ECT treatment

Before ECT begins, your doctor will fully explain the benefits and risks associated with treatment, and we will ask for your consent. (Also know that your consent can be withdrawn at any time, and if you do so, we will stop treatment.) We encourage you to ask questions. After you provide consent, we will conduct a complete physical examination, including an electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood tests.

How ECT therapy sessions work

When you're cleared to begin, an IV drip is placed, which administers medications to induce sleep and relax your muscles. Once the medication has taken effect, an electrical stimulus will be administered through electrodes placed on your head. The stimulus produces changes in the brain waves similar to a generalized seizure, which can help lead to the clinical improvement in mental health symptoms.

After an ECT therapy session

You will wake up about 30 minutes after the completion of treatment. Soon afterward, you will become reoriented enough to eat and return home or return to the inpatient behavioral health unit.

ECT follow-up care

An ECT treatment is intended to be followed by additional ECT sessions or medication therapy. ECT is known to be a very effective treatment when done this way. When follow-up ECT or medications are not used, there is a higher probability of symptom relapse within six months.

Side effects of ECT

ECT is a safe procedure, but it does have some common side effects, such as headaches, muscle soreness, nausea or difficulty with short-term memory, including temporary difficulty learning or remembering new information.

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