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.

Related Articles


"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 November 26, 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 November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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