Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electroconvulsive therapy can restore quality of life for some severely depressed patients

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
Summary:
Patients whose severe depression goes into remission for six months following electroconvulsive therapy report a quality of life similar to that of healthy individuals, researchers say.

Patients whose severe depression goes into remission for six months following electroconvulsive therapy report a quality of life similar to that of healthy individuals, researchers say.

"If we can get you into remission, you get this big, big improvement in quality of life at six months such that our patients' quality of life is as good as that of the overall general population," said Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Researchers looked at quality-of-life questionnaires filled out by more than 500 patients, rating themselves on topics such as physical function, pain, vitality and social function. About half the patients went into remission after ECT and researchers completed their information gathering, including pre- and post-ECT quality-of-life measures, on 64 patients who remained in remission at six months.

Essentially all the patients headed for ECT had poor quality-of-life scores before treatment, reflecting a severity of disease that made them strong candidates for the therapy. Researchers compared those scores to depressed patients who did not receive ECT as well as a group of about 500 healthy individuals.

After therapy, the worst scores generally normalized. The not-so-great news was that not enough patients stayed in remission, notes McCall, an expert in depression and ECT and corresponding author of the study in the Journal of Affective Disorders. "We need to look at different drug treatments for patients to prevent relapse." In fact, McCall and others have early evidence that ECT patients who also take antidepressants fare better. Antidepressant use was not restricted in this study. "The other possibility is that there are some people who seem to respond to nothing but ECT and will need booster ECT sessions to stay well," he said.

Interestingly, after successful therapy, ECT patients scored themselves higher on bodily pain and mental health than their healthy peers. However patients reported that their emotional role -- the ability to relate to others and feel empathy which received the lowest score pre-therapy -- did not return to normal or near-normal levels. That poor showing could mean these patients may not be optimally effective in their work and other regular activities, the researchers said.

"What I tell patients is that six months after this is over, my expectation is that you will be better off, not just in terms of your depression, I mean globally, in your quality of life. The trick is going to be keeping you well so you do not slide back into depression. That is the biggest risk."

Ideal candidates for ECT tend to be severely depressed individuals who have failed multiple drug therapies, McCall said. Less commonly, patients present with severe disease, for example, the first time they are seen is in the emergency room after a suicide attempt.

Often, ECT patients do relapse into depression months after successful ECT and may eventually get additional ECT. Over a lifetime, a depressed patient could receive a handful of courses with eight-10 sessions in each course. In the United States, ECT is used almost exclusively for depression and occasionally for mania and schizophrenia, McCall said. Therapy includes a short, controlled burst of electricity to the brain via electrodes placed on the scalp. Patients receive an anesthetic and muscle relaxer to help ensure safety and comfort.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. "Electroconvulsive therapy can restore quality of life for some severely depressed patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124916.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. (2013, April 15). Electroconvulsive therapy can restore quality of life for some severely depressed patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124916.htm
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. "Electroconvulsive therapy can restore quality of life for some severely depressed patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124916.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins