There are minimal data on the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in adolescents from India. The present study aimed to evaluate the clinical profile and effectiveness of ECT in adolescents (aged 13–18 years).
A retrospective chart review was carried out to identify adolescents (aged 13–18years) who had received ECT during the period 1999–2011. During the study period, 39 such patients received ECT; complete records of 25 patients were available. Details regarding their sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment data were extracted from these records for the present study.
During the study period, 658 patients received ECT, of which 39 were aged 18 or younger (5.9%). Schizophrenia (n = 14; 56%) was the commonest diagnosis for which ECT was used in adolescents, followed by depression (n = 3; 12%). Catatonic symptoms (n = 17; 68%) were the most common symptoms among these subjects. Electroconvulsive therapy was considered as a treatment of choice taking the clinical picture account in about three fourths of the patients (n = 19; 76%). The mean (SD) numbers of ECTs administered per patient were 10.1 (4.87) (range, 2–21). The mean (SD) response rate to ECT was 76% (23.3%) (range, 31%–100%). Response rates according to diagnosis were the following: 76.3% for schizophrenia, 87.2% for depression, 81.8% for psychosis (not otherwise specified), and 77.7% for acute and transient psychosis. Response rate in patients with catatonia was 91.6%. Prolonged seizures, nausea and vomiting, and headache were reported in 2 cases each.
Electroconvulsive therapy is used less frequently in children and adolescents compared to the older patients. This study shows that ECT is effective in the treatment of severe psychiatric disorders in adolescents and is associated with the same frequency of adverse effects as the adults.