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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Jan;2(1):1-8.

ECT has much to offer our patients: it should not be ignored.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, SUNY at Stony Brook, New York, USA. fink@lij.edu


ECT is an effective treatment for severe mental disorders, including major depression, delusional depression, bipolar disorder, manic delirium, schizophrenia, malignant catatonia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. It reduces suicidality, melancholia, catatonia, aggression, and excitement. Age is no barrier, with ECT successful in children, adolescents, and the old-old. It is effective when other treatments have failed. It is a safe treatment. The mortality rate is less than that associated with normal pregnancies. The fractures, panic, and amnesia that marked early treatments have now been modified. Even amnesia, which is often described as the main objection of patients, and the relapse rates are now comparable to the effects of medicines. It is an efficient treatment, costing less for a course of treatment than conventional new medicines and hospitalization. National and international psychiatric societies ignore ECT in their educational programmes. I believe that the leaders have a duty to our patients to provide a forum and educational opportunities for their members for all interventions that may relieve mental disorders. To ignore ECT, an effective treatment, is to do a disservice to our patients, and to abrogate the Hippocratic Oath to which many practitioners subscribe.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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