Electroconvulsive Therapy Program at Inpatient Psychiatry at Tisch Hospital
ECT is most often used as a treatment for people with a condition that is severe or has not responded to medication. During the procedure, you receive general anesthesia and are unconscious, so there is no discomfort. A small amount of electricity is used to trigger a seizure that lasts only 30 to 90 seconds. The seizure improves the symptoms of depression in most patients. Each ECT session lasts 10 to 15 minutes, although you will need extra time to prepare and then recover from the procedure. We recommend you allot at least two hours for each session.
Treatments are given three times a week for two to four weeks. Most patients experience improvement in symptoms after 6 to 12 sessions.
Preparing for Electroconvulsive Therapy
Our experts evaluate each patient seen through our Electroconvulsive Therapy Program to ensure that ECT is the right treatment for your symptoms and condition. We talk with you about your medical history and perform a psychiatric evaluation. Our doctors order tests, including blood tests, an echocardiogram, and neuroimaging if necessary. These tests are performed to ensure you are medically cleared for treatment. Most people can safely receive ECT treatment, including older adults and pregnant women.
During your initial ECT consultation, we encourage you and your family members to ask questions about the procedure and what to expect. Treatments can start while you are part of our inpatient psychiatry program, or, if advised by your doctor, you can begin as an outpatient. If you are an outpatient, you need to have someone available to bring you home after each treatment.
Electroconvulsive therapy is a medical procedure that requires sedation, so we ask that you not eat anything after midnight the day before your scheduled appointment.
For more information about our ECT program, please call 212-263-7419.