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Sometimes, mental health conditions like depression, mania or catatonia can’t be treated by medications or other therapies. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective alternative that may be able to provide you with relief.

Though early forms of ECT gave the procedure a bad reputation, it’s much safer and more commonly used today. Our goal with ECT is to help you overcome the crippling effects of psychiatric disorder and restore balance to your life.

Why Choose Us

  • Experience you can trust: Our team performs ECT more than most providers in the region. Our ECT experts have been providing safe and effective treatment to patients like you for over 50 years.
  • Caring environment: We want you to feel safe and secure during treatment. We offer a dedicated ECT suite for patients and families, as well as new patient tours prior to your procedure.
  • All the specialists you need: Every aspect of your treatment is considered and taken care of by a full team of specialists. If you need further care, we’ll connect you with the right specialists throughout the Loma Linda University Health system.
  • Ongoing support: Treating mental health conditions can be a long-term battle with ups and downs. We’re by your side every step of the way with continued treatments and powerful support resources like outpatient therapy.

Conditions We Treat

Our Services

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT passes small amounts of electricity through your brain to trigger a brief, painless seizure. Though it’s not fully understood how, seizures can cause changes to your brain chemistry that improve certain psychiatric disorders.

Ongoing treatments: ECT works best with consistent treatment over time. Depending on your condition, your treatment plan may include ongoing ECT sessions, outpatient therapy or medications.

Do I need a referral?

Yes, you’ll need a psychiatrist or physician referral to request a consultation for ECT. Most major insurances are accepted.

If you’re a physician, learn how to refer a patient for ECT.

Our Team

We’re here for you or your loved one, no matter what challenges you may be facing. Our treatment team consists of all the specialists you need, including:

  • Psychiatrists, who first evaluate ECT’s ability to treat your condition then perform the procedure.
  • Anesthesiologists, responsible for safely putting you in a sleep-like state using general anesthesia. Being unconscious prevents you from feeling pain or hurting yourself during the seizure.
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), who assist your doctors in administering anesthesia and providing care during your treatment.
  • Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurses, responsible for your care after you’ve had anesthesia.
  • Registered nurses, who have the experience necessary to support you before, during and after ECT.

What to Expect

We know how difficult it can be when you or a loved one is facing a psychiatric disorder. We’ll help you understand your treatment options, like ECT, and find some measure of relief. While ECT works for many people, it may not work for everyone — we’ll make sure you get the care you need.

Initial Evaluation

Before starting ECT, our team will make sure it’s the right treatment for you. You’ll start with an assessment from a psychiatrist specially trained in ECT. Your ECT psychiatrist reviews information provided by your primary care provider, including results from your lab work and physical exam.

You’ll have a chance to speak with your psychiatrist, who will address any questions or concerns. After your evaluation is complete, our team creates a treatment plan personalized to your unique needs and goals.

Preoperative Appointment

Following the initial evaluation, we’ll contact you to schedule a preoperative appointment.

During your appointment, our goal is to help you feel as comfortable as possible for your upcoming procedure. Our ECT program manager will give you a tour of the procedure area and answer any questions you may have.

Treatment

Most people need 9-12 sessions of ECT, usually completing three sessions per week. The procedure only lasts about 10 minutes, but each session lasts two to three hours due to anesthesia preparation and recovery.

Before treatment

Since ECT requires general anesthesia, you’ll need to stop eating food or drinking fluids the night before your appointment. When you arrive for your session, a nurse will give you intravenous (IV) fluids to get you ready for the procedure.

During treatment

Various equipment will be placed on your body to perform the procedure, monitor your vital signs and keep you safe. Electrodes are placed on your head to deliver the small electric current that will cause a brief seizure. Because you’re under the effects of anesthesia and muscle relaxants, you won’t feel pain from the seizure or procedure.

We’ll continue to monitor your vital signs as you wake up, including blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation. Once you’re fully awake, we’ll complete a final assessment to make sure you can go home safely. We’ll also set up an appointment for your next treatment session.

Results and ongoing treatments

After six or more sessions of ECT, many people start to see improvements in their symptoms. For best results, your treatment plan may include ongoing ECT sessions, outpatient therapy or medications. We’ll help you continue with any treatment and support resources you need.

After treatment

You may experience temporary confusion or memory loss during your time receiving ECT. For most people, these side effects are minor and usually clear up within months after treatment ends. You may also experience physical side effects like jaw pain, headache, muscle ache or nausea. We’ll help you understand and address any side effects you encounter during and after your treatment sessions.

How to Get Help

Electroconvulsive therapy may be able to provide relief when you or a loved one is suffering from a psychiatric disorder. Ask your doctor or psychiatrist about a referral for ECT and call us at 909-326-2520 to learn more. We look forward to answering any questions you may have and helping you get the care you deserve.

How to Refer a Patient

If you’re a physician with a patient who may benefit from ECT, follow the steps below to refer them for a consultation.

  • Please call our ECT Department at 909-326-2520 with the patient’s demographic and insurance information.
  • We’ll need the patient’s psychiatric history in order to process the referral.
  • We’ll verify insurance benefits and treatment authorization.
  • Your patients may contact the ECT Department directly with any questions.

Related Conditions & Treatments

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Your Care Team

Our treatment team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, chaplains, dieticians, family counselors and therapists.
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