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Indian J Psychiatry. 1997 Jan;39(1):54-60.

Indian psychiatrists' attitudes towards electroconvulsive therapy.

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A.K. AGARWAL M.D., D.P.M., Professor and Head. Department of Psychiatry. K.G.'s Medical College. Lucknow. 226003.


A questionnaire on ECT, tapping attitudes, usage and experience, was mailed to all medical members of the Indian Psychiatric Society whose addresses were known; 263 (28.8%) of 913 psychiatrists responded. This paper describes Indian psychiatrists attitudes towards ECT. A global attitude favouring the treatment was expressed by 81.4% of respondents. The psychiatrists considered that for many patients ECT may be the safest, cheapest and most effective treatment (79.8%), disagreed that ECT should be used as a last resort (68.4%) and disagreed that drugs have made ECT obsolete (81%). While many (44.1%) opined that use of ECT should be curtailed, few (5.3%) considered that ECT should he abandoned - in fact, most respondents. (86.3%) stated that comprehensive psychiatric care should include ECT services. A need was expressed for explicit guidelines for proper use of ECT (77.2%). Conflicting opinions were expressed about the use of ECT in children. Many psychiatrists (38%) thought that ECT may produce subtle brain damage: nevertheless, of those actively using ECT, 82.9% expressed willingness to receive ECT themselves, if indicated.


Attitudes; ECT; psychiatrists

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