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 suffering from 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. When a disorder becomes this severe, it is referred to as TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression).  ECT is a primary a treatment choice for TRD, psychotic depression and acute suicidality. Also, it can be an ideal choice for severe depression during pregnancy and afterwards (Post Partum Depression), thereby allowing minimal exposure of the baby to medications.

ECT involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain conducted 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.

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 the 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. PRI is currently using two forms of this drug to treat suicidal ideation and treatment resistant depression:

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 pri@uams.edu. 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.