Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

What is Electroconvulsive therapy?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a procedure that stimulates the brain by generating a small electrical current that passes through electrodes placed on the head. It is widely accepted that ECT treatment is effective in correcting brain chemistry imbalances when other treatments, like psychiatric medications and psychotherapy, have proven ineffective. Our ECT Program and services are performed at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, located at 1500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281.

What to Expect? / How does it work?

ECT therapy is administered by a team of licensed medical professionals, including a physician. The procedure lasts approximately 15 minutes and recovery time is 1-2 hours. The procedure can be done while you are hospitalized or on an outpatient basis.

ECT treatment is administered under short-acting, general anesthesia. After a brief physical exam by your physician, you will receive an intravenous (IV) line through which anesthesia and a muscle relaxant can be administered. Electrode pads will be placed at various points around the forehead based on your physician’s recommendation.

Once you are resting comfortably under the effects of the anesthesia, your doctor will initiate a small electrical current that will pass through the electrodes to your brain. The result is a brief seizure that lasts approximately 60 seconds.

When the seizure is over, recovery is monitored by your treatment team as the effects of the anesthesia subside. In most cases, you can return to normal activity within a few hours after recovery; however, your physician will advise you how to proceed based on your specific circumstances. Treatments are most effective when administered in a regular series over a 4–12-week period or longer, depending on your treatment plan, the severity of your symptoms, and your response to treatment.

Am I a good candidate for ECT?

ECT is most used for those with severe depression, recurring suicidal ideations, severe mania, Catatonia, and other mood disorders that have not responded to traditional treatments, like medications and psychotherapy. Our experienced mental health professionals can help determine whether this treatment is appropriate for you and connecting to care is simple.

Contact/ Questions

Please contact the Program Coordinator for any questions or to schedule an assessment:
Phone Number: 480-333-5131
E-Mail: [email protected]

Ready to get started?