Interventional Psychiatry


Interventional Psychiatry is a rapidly growing sub-specialty in the field of psychiatry.  One component of interventional psychiatry employs neuromodulation, or brain stimulation, which involves the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to address issues such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The Psychiatric Research Institute’s Interventional Psychiatry Program utilizes evidence-based treatments that can provide remarkable results. Some of the methods used by the Interventional Psychiatry staff are relatively new while others have been approved for use for many years. All are effective in treating mental illnesses that have not improved with the use of antidepressants or psychotherapy.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of patients from Arkansas and surrounding states are dealing with mental health problems that could be reduced or even resolved through the Interventional Psychiatry program here at PRI. Here are some of the treatments offered by the program:

Electroconvulsive therapy – Electroconvulsive therapy is used for patients with severe mood disorders (depression and bipolar) that have not responded to other forms of treatment, which are frequently referred to as TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression).  It is primary a treatment choice for severe, treatment resistant Major Depression, especially psychotic depression and for acute suicidality.  Also, it can be an ideal choice for severe depression during pregnancy and afterwards (Post Partum Depression), which allows minimal exposure of the baby to drugs.  Additionally, it can be helpful to various phases of bipolar, especially a severe depressive phase.

ECT involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. The ECT team of medical professionals at PRI includes a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse, all highly trained and experienced in treating patients with this effective form of treatment.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation – Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to activate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. The process involves an electromagnetic coil placed against the patient’s scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in mood control and depression.  Initially, there may be some mild discomfort adjusting to the treatment, but this usually resolves fairly quickly

Ketamine – Ketamine has been used primarily as an anesthetic since the 1960s. Recently, it has been shown in some individuals to dramatically improve the symptoms of patients with severe depression, especially those with suicidal thoughts. Its effect can be fast acting in relieving suicidal thoughts and the severity of depression. Currently, we are able to offer this treatment intravenously, although an option to administer it intra-nasally is anticipated in the near future.

Because ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression, it is not covered by insurance and requires an out-of-pocket payment.

The Interventional Psychiatry Program at PRI could be the answer to those with long-term depression and other mental health problems that have not improved through the use of medication or psychotherapy. To find out more about the Interventional Psychiatry Program, call (501) 526-8100 or e-mail us at The program will accept referrals from a patient’s current psychiatrist by faxing a recent history to (501) 526-8199 to the attention of Ken Hall.