Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in Rhode Island

When medication and psychotherapy aren’t enough to restore a patient to well-being, electroconvulsive therapy can help.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a specialized treatment for patients suffering from major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder. ECT also may help patients with other conditions, particularly those with a combination of psychiatric, medical, and neurological symptoms.

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Contact Us to Learn More About ECT

Call us at 401-444-3584 to learn more about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) services at Rhode Island Hospital.

How ECT Works

ECT generally is prescribed only after medications and therapy have been unsuccessful in relieving a patient’s symptoms. However, it may be a first course of treatment if a person is at risk of suicide.

ECT is administered to inpatients who are hospitalized for treatment of their mental illness, as well as to outpatients. Patients may continue their initial series of ECT sessions after leaving the hospital, and may have periodic maintenance treatments to prevent a relapse. About 100,000 patients in the United States receive ECT each year.

Electroconvulsive therapy, formerly called electroshock therapy, has been used for more than eight decades, with significant refinements through the years. While dated depictions in Hollywood films created stigma around the treatment, prominent figures such as Kitty Dukakis, wife of the former presidential candidate and governor of Massachusetts, and the late actress Carrie Fisher have testified to the benefits of ECT.

Other brain stimulation therapies include transcranial magnetic stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation, and deep brain stimulation.

Several of Lifespan’s expert psychiatrists treat patients with electroconvulsive therapy.

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services

Lifespan’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services offer a full range of assessment and treatment options to address the mental, emotional and behavioral problems that occur throughout life.