Objectives: In child and adolescent psychiatry, catatonia is infrequent, but it is one of the most severe syndromes, characterized by the coexistence of psychic and motor symptoms. In this report, we explore the therapeutic experience with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in adolescents with catatonia.
Methods: We review the literature (1985-2009) to clarify issues related to the use of ECT in child and adolescent patients with catatonia.
Results: Electroconvulsive therapy is used as second-line management after high-dose benzodiazepine trials. Electroconvulsive therapy is an effective, safe, and useful procedure in the treatment of catatonic youngsters as reported in 59 patients. Ethical issues regarding the use of ECT are analyzed and their implications briefly discussed in the light of general medical ethics.
Conclusions: Electroconvulsive therapy is a safe and effective treatment for catatonia in children and adolescents.