Is Shock Therapy Returning for Bipolar Disorder?

FRIDAY, Sept. 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Over the years electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) — commonly known as “shock therapy” — has gotten a bad rap.

But new research out of Italy suggests that reputation may be unwarranted. Investigators found that among bipolar patients who fail to respond to standard treatments, ECT can be a lifesaver, preventing out-of-control mood swings and dramatically lowering suicide risk.

The study — among the largest of its kind — tracked 670 Italian adults who had ECT for bipolar disorder at a single psychiatric clinic between 2006 and 2019.

“Importantly, 84% of patients showing high risk of suicide before ECT were no longer considered overtly suicidal after treatment,” said lead author Dr. Giulio Brancati, a resident in clinical and experimental medicine at the University of Pisa.

“Overall, 72% of patients showed a good response to ECT,” Brancati added.

For about six in 10, ECT appeared to offer relief from an array of debilitating symptoms — including delusions, aggressiveness, uncooperativeness, emotional oversensitivity, physical hyperactivity and paranoia. Depression and anxiety were alleviated in just over one-quarter of the patients.

Based on the findings, Brancati said, “ECT should be considered a valuable treatment for severe episodic syndromes,” especially the kind of overexcitement, restlessness, hostility and suspiciousness that can arise when manic, depressive and psychotic symptoms intertwine.

The study team noted that bipolar disorder affects about 1% of the population. It can manifest as fits of mania and depression, leading to a profound sense of guilt and worthlessness, and a heightened risk for suicide.

About two-thirds of patients respond well to prescription drugs, including mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. The rest do not.

Enter ECT. Pioneered in Rome in 1938 by Lucio Bini, a psychiatrist, and Ugo Cerletti, a neurologist, it spread rapidly around the world. It works by generating a short-lived electrical seizure in the brain, and is typically administered two to three times a week as part of a regimen of six to 12 sessions.

Brancati conceded that its bad reputation was not unfounded.

“It is not false that ECT has been sometimes administered in untherapeutic, if not abusive, ways,” he said. For example, Brancati noted that the first electroshock patients were not medicated during treatment, “which often led to serious musculoskeletal complications.”

Source link




Michael Schumacher’s son Mick sets reclaiming the win record as his goal

Michael Schumacher's son Mick says the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equalling the Ferrari great's all-time record of 91 wins has given him something...

‘I really can’t explain it’

Tesla's rapid run higher, which has seen the shares gain nearly 400% this year, has left one notable investor confused."I really can't explain...

Principles of ‘green chemistry’ could have a big impact in the future

Used in everything from the detergent that washes our clothes to the toothpaste that keeps our mouths clean, chemicals play an integral role...

U.S. auto industry’s post-coronavirus sales recovery continued in Q3

As automakers announce third-quarter sales results, analysts are expecting good news to come out of what functionally amounts to the first full quarter...

Virus that causes Covid-19 can survive for 28 days on surfaces, research says

A worker cleans the seats in a cinema hall as part of preparations for a possible reopening after the government eased the lockdown...