Boulder Community Health is proud to provide Electroconvulsive Therapy
(ECT), which is a safe and highly effective treatment for severe psychiatric
ECT is most commonly used to treat severe depression and is often the safest,
fastest and most effective therapy available for that illness. ECT is
also sometimes used to treat patients with manic illness or schizophrenia.
This treatment is available as an inpatient or outpatient basis.
Studies indicate that 80 to 90 percent of depressed individuals who receive
ECT treatment respond favorably, making ECT the most effective treatment
for all forms of depression. ECT is believed to correct biochemical abnormalities
that underlie severe depressive illness. The techniques for administering
ECT have improved considerably over the past 25 years.
Before ECT begins, a patient’s medical condition is carefully assessed
with a complete medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests.
The number of treatment sessions needed to successfully treat severe depression
ranges from four to 20, with treatments usually given three times per week.
ECT is performed under general anesthesia, meaning patients are in a sleep-like
state and unaware the procedure is taking place. During the procedure,
electrical currents are quickly passed through the brain to induce a brief
seizure. This causes changes in the brain’s chemistry, which has
beneficial mood effects.
Breaking the ECT Myths
Unfortunately, because of the way it has been portrayed in movies and TV
shows, some people have the wrong impression of ECT. As a result, the
therapy isn’t helping as many people as it could. Such misconceptions
are based on early ECT treatment, which began more than 80 years ago.
In the early days, when it was known as “electroshock therapy,”
treatment could be very painful and cause serious side effects. Today,
ECT is much safer. It’s now delivered in a controlled setting, with
patients surrounded by a team of specialized psychiatrists, anesthesiologists
and registered nurses.
Why Choose BCH for ECT?
At BCH, ECT services are provided by the Guerra Fisher Institute and offer:
The most experienced practitioners in the Mountain States region: Collectively, our psychiatrists have nearly five decades of ECT experience
and have performed more than 60,000 treatments.
Seasoned ECT nurses: Our team of registered nurses have subspecialty training in ECT and an
average of over 10 years of experience.
A commitment to collaborating with referring clinicians: Our psychiatrists work closely and constantly communicate with patients’
referring clinicians, striving for seamless integration of care.
A leading health care system: Located on the Foothills Medical Campus, our program offers access to
the full resources of Foothills Hospital. And, it’s the only program
in Boulder County operated by a not-for-profit health system.
ECT is offered at BCH by the Guerra Fisher Institute & Boulder ECT.
If you would like to learn more about this treatment or to make an appointment,
please call 303-415-8611.