Electroconvulsive Therapy Could Help Treat Schizophrenia

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) might be an effective treatment option for patients with schizophrenia, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association 2016 Annual Meeting.

ECT sends a quick electric current through the brain that has been reported to alleviate the symptoms for some patients with schizophrenia. Researchers claim that 76.7 percent of the patients who underwent ECT in this study experienced a dramatic improvement in their symptoms and that the treatment could provide a positive alternative to antipsychotics that often possess a high failure rate.

"ECT is effective for acute treatment of schizophrenia,” said Tyler Kaster, MD, lead researcher of the study. “We saw that three quarters of our patients respond to this treatment, and it was unexpectedly associated with minimal cognitive impairment.”

Lack of cognitive impairment

The retrospective study examined the clinical records of nearly 150 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who had received acute ECT. Not only did researchers observe symptom relief in nearly three-fourths of the patients, but also that schizophrenia sufferers did not experience cognitive damage during the procedure.

“Based on clinician notes, they [the patients] either had an excellent or good response that translated into a dramatic improvement in their symptoms," said Kaster. "It's important to mention that no patient developed severe cognitive impairment,"

Researchers believe the results show that ECT is a viable and important treatment option for schizophrenic patients suffering from the disease’s symptoms.

Source: Medscape