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Case study: electroconvulsive therapy in adolescents.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program, SUNY Stony Brook, USA.



Recognizing the limited experience with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in adolescent psychiatric patients, the authors evaluated the efficacy, indications, and benefit of the treatment in this population.


The records of patients in the ECT rosters at University Hospital at Stony Brook between 1983 and 1993 were reviewed. Thirteen adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 years who received ECT were identified. ECT followed the institution's standard adult protocol.


Ten patients were evaluated as responders, and three as nonresponders. Patients with diagnoses of an affective illness, unspecified psychosis, and catatonia benefited the most. Some improvements were seen in the patients with schizophrenia. Eight patients (62%) were contacted by telephone for follow-up. Five remain asymptomatic 3 years after the treatment, and three relapsed within 12 months despite maintenance pharmacotherapy.


Within the limitation of record review and partial follow-up, ECT was found to be an effective and useful procedure in the treatment of adolescents with severe psychiatric disorders.

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