Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive Therapy, also known as ECT, is a specialized treatment that is highly effective for many types of psychiatric conditions. The procedure is safe and utilizes small electrical currents. These currents induce a seizure, which affects the entire brain. Many times, patients who have not responded to medications or other treatments can benefit from ECT. Severe depression, suicidal ideations, or sever psychosis are just some of the symptoms that can be alleviated from ECT.

ECT at Vidant Medical Center
Vidant Medical Center is proud to provide the highest quality patient-centered care approach to the people of Eastern North Carolina. Behavioral Health of Vidant Medical Center includes inpatient care for adults. Specialty programs include geriatrics, psychiatric medicine, and mental illness coupled with developmental disability. Behavioral Health of Vidant Medical Center provides safe, effective care to patients with even the most difficult problems. ECT treatments are offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Multi-disciplinary Treatment Team
ECT is performed by a psychiatrist in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). An anesthesiologist, or other medical professional, assists in the procedure. Other specialists can be consulted for additional services.

Frequently Asked Questions about Electroconvulsive Therapy
Why would someone need ECT treatment?
ECT treatments are usually effective in patients who are severely depressed, manic, schizophrenic, or suffer from other severe psychiatric conditions. ECT is often used if medication management does not seem to help the patient’s condition, or the acuity of the condition is high or developing rapidly.

What is the typical treatment plan?
After a medical, physical, and psychiatric evaluation, a psychiatrist will order a number of sessions of ECT for a patient. A typical range of sessions is 3-21, however, more or less may be determined appropriate by the physician. Other treatment services such as psychotherapy or medication management may be ordered in conjunction with ECT, and, ongoing treatments may be necessary for maintenance. A psychiatrist will create an individualized treatment plan for each patient’s need and involve the patient in the therapy process.

Does insurance cover the treatment?
Many insurance plans may cover the procedure provided any required authorizations are obtained in advance. Often, Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance plans cover the treatment.

How effective is the treatment?
ECT Treatment is very effective, with over 80% of patients seeing positive results from the therapy. Many modern advances, such as stimulant titration and EEG monitoring are used to increase efficacy and ensure the best possible outcomes.

Would someone feel anything during treatment? Are there side effects?
Patients are anesthetized and are sleeping before treatment. Typically, no discomfort is felt. After treatment, some patients suffer from muscle weakness, short-term confusion, and headaches. Generally, these side effects go away shortly after treatment.

We have someone availible to answer your needs quickly. Call our triage office at 252-847-8791 or page 252-413-4117, and a psychiatric triage counselor will respond in 15 minutes or less.