If medications, therapy, psychoanalysis, or a combination of these treatments do not relieve symptoms, we offer hope through specialized therapies for severe and treatment-resistant depression. We have particular expertise in brain stimulation therapies such as ECT and TMS and medications such as ketamine.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
ECT is a safe, effective procedure for severe depression that is performed while patients are asleep. The procedure delivers a small amount of electric current through the brain to impact the function and effect of neurotransmitters to relieve depression.
UT Southwestern is a leader in the use of ECT, performing this treatment more than other institution in Texas. We have been a key site for groundbreaking studies to evaluate ECT and are part of the Consortium for Research in ECT (CORE), a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study that includes only a handful of leading academic medical institutions nationwide.
We are experienced in providing ECT for patients with:
- Major depressive episodes (unipolar and bipolar)
- Manic or mixed episodes
- Schizoaffective disorders
- Rare cases of schizophrenia with prominent mood or catatonic features
Patients receive electrical stimulation as an outpatient procedure two to three times a week for several weeks. Our doctors and nurses closely monitor each patient to ensure safety and improve outcomes.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
TMS is a procedure that uses magnets precisely placed on the head to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that are involved in mood regulation and depression. During TMS, patients receive medication to help them relax, but they are awake.
Patients typically receive 30- to 45-minute treatments five times a week. TMS can provide significant improvement in patients for whom standard medications have not been effective.
The UT Southwestern team uses an array of algorithms to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from TMS and then to determine the optimal placement and amplitude of the procedure for each patient.
Ketamine and Esketamine
Ketamine is an anesthesia medication that is also dissociative, which means that it creates a sense of detachment. Recent studies suggest that the drug can provide quick-acting benefits for people with serious depression and suicidal thoughts. Ketamine is administered intravenously under close supervision.
Esketamine, a mirror molecule of ketamine, is an investigational, rapidly acting antidepressant that works differently than currently available therapies for major depressive disorder. Through glutamate receptor modulation, esketamine is thought to help restore connections between brain cells in people with treatment-resistant depression.