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SUN Behavioral Houston Explains Myths of Electroconvulsive Therapy

March 16, 2021
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Houston, Texas - SUN Behavioral Houston is reaching out to the wider community to explain the myths associated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Part of the growing SUN Behavioral Health network, the psychiatric hospital is dedicated to helping those struggling with addiction to reclaim their lives.

A representative for the psychiatric hospital says, “Since 1948’s Academy-award-winning 'The Snake Pit' showed electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on the big screen of cinema, movies have portrayed ECT in a number of different ways. Sadly, because the reality of ECT being medically and carefully administered not being part of the narrative most of the time, and with movies like 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest' and 'Shock Corridor' portraying electroconvulsive therapy as a negative or a form of punishment, the idea that ECT is something terrible has lodged itself into the public’s mind. The truth is that ECT is nowhere near as bad as it may seem.”

ECT myths

The first of the several myths the organization tackles is the idea that ECT is barbaric and cruel. As they write in an article published on their website, “People are often under the impression of ECT as depicted through visions of someone writhing and screaming in a straightjacket, as seen in movies. Though inaccurate, it doesn’t help but offer some excitement for the popcorn-munching audience sitting transfixed and unable to look away. The reality is not as exciting. Patients discuss all the benefits and side effects of the possible treatment, as with any medical procedure. They are made comfortable with muscle relaxants and anesthesia and undergo impulse treatment that is regulated and takes 5-10 minutes. They wake up in a recovery room, and as in many outpatient procedures, can return home the same day with someone else driving. Some patients undergo the therapy while seeking inpatient care, and return to their rooms on-site.”

Sun Behavioral Houston also contends with the idea that ECT is reserved for only the most extreme cases, which they say is not true. ECT is even used as an option for treating depression, which can severely impact an individual’s quality of life, social connections, and ability to work. While the typical treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic therapy along with medications, electroconvulsive therapy is explored more often than not when the depression proves resistant to medication.

Another common myth relating to electroconvulsive therapy is that it can wipe away memory. In the article, SUN Behavioral Houston writes, “Loss of memories before or after treatment are common patient concerns and valid to discuss with a doctor. In fact, improvements in increased memory and learning have been reported by many patients. While there may be a temporary loss of events shortly before the therapy, they are often regained within a few weeks. Similarly, it may take a few weeks to begin to develop new memories following the therapy. Severe, long-term memory loss is uncommon.” The full article delves into each of these myths in further detail.

According to SUN Behavioral Houston, ECT is never the first course of treatment. When a patient is experiencing mental health conditions, therapy and/or medication will almost always be the methods tried first. However, if there are no real improvements, the doctor may suggest electroconvulsive therapy. According to the psychiatric clinic, ECT is considered for patients experiencing medication-resistant depression, psychosis, catatonia, multiple hospital visits for the same mental disorder, multiple suicide attempts, and other mental health disorders.

Separately, SUN Behavioral Houston says, “When ECT is administered, patients will usually see an improved quality of life relatively quickly with little to no side effects. Work, school, and family responsibilities can be very easily managed during ongoing therapy sessions along with medications and possible follow-up ECT treatments. The truth is that ECT is an established treatment for a number of mental health issues, and people shouldn’t let movies and other entertainment media paint a terrifying picture of a perfectly safe option.”

Those who want to learn more about SUN Behavioral Houston and the suite of services provided by the clinic are welcome to visit their website. They also have a presence on Facebook where they often post updates, share media, and communicate with their patients. Interested parties may get in touch with SUN Behavioral directly via email, phone, their website, or Facebook page.

SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]

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About SUN Behavioral Houston:

At SUN Behavioral Texas, we partner with hospitals, doctors, schools, and social service agencies to solve the unmet behavioral health needs in neighborhoods across the Lone Star State. We take providing mental health services to the next level.

Contact SUN Behavioral Houston:

7601 Fannin Street
Houston, TX 77054

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