100 Lincoln Avenue
Carbondale, PA
Tel: (570) 281-1000 

Electroconvulsive Therapy

            Most people desire positive physical health, mental health and spiritual health.  There are many ways to approach each and each has its own benefits.  Each one has an impact on the others.  For example, for our physical health, we may have regular checkups, exercise, take specific medications, watch our diets, etc.

            There are many levels of mental health treatment, as well, including individual therapy, group therapy, medication, behavioral, case management and others.  And, just as in our physical health or spiritual health, there are varying levels of need within our mental health from minimal to severe.

            An additional safe and effective treatment for those with severe mental illness is now being offered through the Maxis Health System members, Marian Community Hospital and Tri-County Human Services Center.   The treatment is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).  Through Dr. Sanjay Chandragiri, a psychiatrist with Tri-County Human Services Center and the Medical Director of the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Marian Community Hospital, ECT is offered to our local communities.  ECT is an effective and safe treatment for those with severe mental illness, yet many consider it so dangerous that they fear it as much as they fear the disease.  This mistaken fear has many roots --- in the pain and complications of ECT's early days, in the confusion with ineffective treatments which have long been discarded.

            ECT treatment, through the utilization of anesthesia, controlled oxygenation, and muscle relaxation make the procedure very safe.  The physician, following a prescribed procedure, induces a seizure in the brain.  By inducing muscle relaxation and anesthesia, the physician prevents side effects.

           For several severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia, major depression, etc., ECT has proven to be the most efficacious treatment.  It is safe for patients of all ages and has also been utilized safely with pregnant women.  ECT is advised when other treatments for a psychiatric condition have failed or when the side effects of medications preclude their use.  Dr. Chandragiri notes, "Traditionally, a patient has to be admitted to a hospital to receive ECT and required to stay in the hospital until the course of treatment was completed.  However, refinements in the procedure now allow people to receive ECT on an outpatient basis."

            Dr. Chandragiri is Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has successfully completed a certificate course and exam in ECT administered by the Association for Convulsive Therapy.  He also received ECT training under the guidance of Max Fink, M.D., a pioneer of and international authority on ECT while he was a resident at the State University of New York - Stony Brook.  Dr. Chandragiri is also the Secretary of the Northeast Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, a local chapter of the American Psychiatric Association.



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