Brentwood Hospital to offer ECT 'shock therapy' soon

Brentwood Hospital to offer ECT 'shock therapy' soon
Brentwood's Dr. Sabbenahalli explains the modernized ECT machine/Source: KSLA News 12
Brentwood's Dr. Sabbenahalli explains the modernized ECT machine/Source: KSLA News 12

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Electroconvulsive Therapy, also known as ECT or shock therapy, will soon be available at Brentwood Hospital.

Medical and technological advancements have modernized ECT, according to Brentwood Hospital's Dr. Suresh Sabbenahalli.  He admits the treatment though, still carries a shadowy stigma.

"You think about shock therapy and it definitely creates anxiety by hearing the name itself."

The basics of ECT is creating a controlled seizure for about 20 seconds, explained Dr. Sabbenahalli. Shock treatment began in the United States in the 1940's. He said its depiction in the film 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and other Hollywood movies helped foster negative associations.

"There's a reason why patients are getting anxiety and scared about the treatment by looking at previous ways they did it, they had like six or seven people holding the patients," Dr. Sabbenahalli said.

ECT patients are now put under general anesthesia.

The induced seizure lasts 20-25 seconds.

"The way it works is some of the neurotransmitters released into the body and that helps with depression," Dr. Sabbenahalli said.

While ECT isn't for everyone, Dr. Sabbenahalli says it's often used as a last resort for treatment-resistant patients, such as those who suffer from schizophrenia, mania, and severe depression.

"The patients who are having suicidal thoughts they don't have enough energy, they don't have the proper thinking capacity. All they are thinking is 'I want to die, I want to die,'" explained Sabbenahalli, "So those patients definitely need help. Sometimes they listen to their therapist, they listen to their psychiatrist they listen to you, sometimes they don't know what they are doing their aim is to die, so those patients definitely have benefited from ECT"

Until now ArkLaTex residents had to travel to Dallas or New Orleans to undergo the procedure.

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