Can ECT Treat My Depression?

For many suffering from depression, finding the right combination of medication can be a struggle. Some are prescribed medication for months, only to have their prescription changed, increased, or changed completely because their body rejected the medication. During this process, depressive episodes can seem like a lifetime of misery. Luckily, alterative treatment options can help if your depression has become resistant to medication.

What Is ECT?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been used for some time and is generally considered “re-setting” the brain. ECT is often used to treat severe clinical depression and is often used for people with symptoms like hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, or delusions. ECT can be applied when other treatments like psychotherapy and antidepressants do not work. Some other psychiatric or neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease or schizophrenia can also be treated with ECT. During the treatment, electric currents pass through the brain to initiate a short and controlled seizure. ECT can be shown to change brain chemistry, and in turn, begin to reverse the symptoms of several different mental illnesses.

How ECT Works

ECT treatment can be similar to having surgery. You’re put into a gown and taken into a surgical area, but you’re also hooked into machines that monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and other important vital signs. After the muscle relaxant and anesthetic are administered by the anesthesiologist, you’re asked to breathe deeply while the treatment takes its effects. Once you are unconscious, the treatment starts. You are given a careful seizure at your bedside that is carefully monitored by the doctors. When the seizure is over, medications are administered to help you wake back up. Once awake, your vitals are carefully monitored and tracked. After a sufficient period of recovery you may return home and rest. Studies have shown that ECT works for many people who have treatment-resistant depression. A study conducted by the medical journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia found 71% of people who received ECT had a positive response to treatment. Though the treatment can work quickly, about 50% of those who receive it will relapse within several months. Doctors typically advise a medication plan and periodic “maintenance” ECT sessions to help prevent relapse.

Want to learn more about ECT and other alternative treatments? For more information, contact our team of Chico mental health professionals at Therapeutic Solutions. Let us help you live life in balance.


Good Behavioral Health Means Good Overall Health

Substance abuse and mental health disorders threaten the health, longevity, and productivity of Americans every day. From anxiety and depression to hypertension and diabetes, the link between our behavioral health and overall health becomes clearer each day. Recent studies have shown that entire communities benefit from access to high-quality mental or substance abuse services.

Understanding the Data

Using interactive maps, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index shows the effects behavioral health has on our overall health. These effects can be seen at the national, state, and county levels. In fact, counties with higher mental health scores on the index tend to have higher personal income, greater economic growth rate, and lower unemployment. This suggests that the strength of our economy and the livelihood of our communities hinge on the health of our people. According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index, behavioral health has the greatest influence over these contributing factors.

21st Century Cures Act

As more people acknowledge and understand the impact of behavioral health conditions, it becomes increasingly important that we continue to improve access to behavioral health services. The recently passed 21st Century Cures Act is a step towards improving mental and behavioral health policy. The new law provides funds for a new National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. The intent of the law is to implement grants and evaluate evidence-based practices and service delivery models. The law also builds on existing resources like the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, allowing states, communities, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders, to share information regarding their specific programs and practices.

Insurers, employers, health care providers, families, and consumers must continue to collaboratively attempt to reduce the effects behavioral health conditions have on our overall health. Better treatments and support can increase longevity, productivity, and can help us lead fuller healthier lives.

Interested in learning more about behavioral health treatments? Let one of our Chico behavioral health professionals help you today. Contact us now!


How Do I De-Stress My Body & Mind?

Activities like mediation and yoga are popular ways for people to relieve stress. But what if those activities aren’t your thing? Worry not! Improving the connection between your mind and body can be done with any physical activity. Creating this connection between body and mind is an important part of learning to ground yourself in times of stress.

Test Your Threshold for Discomfort

Stress-testing can occur wherever any type of physical activity takes place. Your home gym or favorite hiking trail can serve as a “laboratory” where you monitor the frequency and intensity of your physical efforts. By collecting and assessing data, we can see exactly where it is that we’re being challenged. With this information, we can gauge how resistant or open we are to experiencing discomfort. Avoiding discomfort or pain generally leads to greater distress, in turn lowering the flexibility of the psyche.

Learning to open your mind and body to discomfort, rather than avoiding it, increases flexibility when dealing with stress. Exercise is an excellent way to condition the flexibility of your body and mind. Usually, there is progression from the baseline data if an individual remains consistent with their exercise routine. It is important to not only find the boundaries of our physical and mental health, but to push the limits of these boundaries. This is a key concept in any sport or physical activity and should also be applied to your exercise regimen.

The Irony of Stress and Exercise

Exercise introduces manageable amounts of stress to the mind and body. This increases our willingness to accept and remain in the present moment of discomfort. Eventually, exercise will make you feel less overwhelmed by the stress of physical activity. Ironically, the best way to alleviate stress is to create more stress, in a controlled and useful way.

Considering exercise to help de-stress your body and mind? Contact one of our Chico mental and behavioral health professionals today.