Information for Patients and Families

Driving Restriction

Patients are not permitted to drive while having ECT treatments until treatments are down to once every two weeks and with the clearance of the patient’s outpatient psychiatrist.

Transportation from ECT

Another person (such as a family member or other designated person) is required to meet the patient at ECT treatment and drive the patient home. Private care agencies can be hired to provide transportation. ECT treatments last approximately 3-4 hours. 

A patient can use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to arrive at ECT. However, these transportation methods are NOT permitted following treatment to return home unless the patient has someone accompanying him or her.

Supervision Following ECT Treatment

The patient must be supervised by a family member or other designated adult for at least 3-4 hours following each ECT treatment.

Private care agencies can be hired as a companion to supervise the patient following treatments (as well as providing transportation if needed).

Outpatient Psychiatric Care

All patients are required to have an outpatient psychiatrist while undergoing a course of ECT. The ECT treating physician cannot serve as the patient’s outpatient psychiatrist.

The outpatient psychiatrist will monitor the patient’s progress, will prescribe medications as appropriate, and will complete routine ECT documentation every 30 days (commonly referred to as “re-advisement” paperwork).

The patient and/or family should contact the outpatient psychiatrist if there is ever a psychiatric emergency.

Work / Employment and Medical Leave

The ability to return to work varies among individuals. Patients may not be able to return to work immediately after each treatment, or in between treatments. 

Patients will need to obtain letters for medical leave from their outpatient psychiatrist.


ECT has been proven to be an effective treatment for severe depression. Click here to see a video.