Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) remains the gold standard of treatment for severe, medication-resistant depression. Recent advances in technology have improved the safety and tolerability of the procedure. ECT is used to treat mental illness via the application of a controlled electrical stimulus to the scalp which induces a brief generalized seizure in the brain. This seizure activity is believed to bring about certain biochemical changes which may cause symptoms to diminish or to even disappear. The therapy is administered in a hospital room, while the patient is under general anesthesia.

ECT is most commonly used to treat severe depression in patients that are unresponsive to other forms of treatment or in patients in whom it is dangerous to wait for medications to take effect. This therapy is highly effective as a depression treatment modality and is one of the fastest therapies to relieve symptoms. Less often, it is used to reverse symptoms of other mental illnesses, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Severe mania
  • Catonia

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) remains the most effective and safest treatment for many cases, particularly when alternative treatments are neither effective nor safe. Problems can also occur with memory loss but this usually improves after completion of treatment. Common side effects can include headache, mild nausea, muscle soreness and temporary confusion. 

To learn more about ECT, make a referral, schedule an appointment, or for more information don’t hesitate to call us at 918-497-4930.

Our ECT Physician

Dr. Aaron Pierce is a board certified psychiatrist and a Tulsa native. He graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2004, going on to complete a four-year Psychiatric residency through the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine in 2008.

Upon completion of his psychiatric residency, Dr. Pierce became an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center for five years, serving as Director of Psychiatry Clinic and as a consultant Psychiatrist at Saint Francis Hospital.

Dr. Pierce joined SMBHS in August 2013, working with both adolescent RTC patients and the outpatient clinic. In July 2014, Dr. Pierce completed a visiting fellowship at Duke University Medical Center’s Electroconvulsive Therapy Program, a program that meets requirements by the American Psychiatric Association for ECT privileging.