Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that causes great suffering and debilitation worldwide. We have a multitude of medications that are effective for psychosis. However, these have not been successful in treating the negative and cognitive symptom domains of schizophrenia. These symptoms are responsible for the larger part of functional impairments that result from schizophrenia. In addition, there are many patients for whom no significant improvement is achieved even in the positive symptom domain. Hence, other treatment modalities have been explored to help these patients. Electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation are two of the most promising adjunct treatment methods for medication-resistant schizophrenia. Electroconvulsive therapy is the gold standard treatment for catatonias whether associated with schizophrenia, mood disorders, or other non-psychiatric disorders. Although not effective for negative symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy provides substantial augmentation to antipsychotic medications in improving positive symptoms and overall severity. Electroconvulsive therapy should be considered more often in patients with inadequate response to antipsychotic medications even when they do not have prominent affective symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has emerged as a promising useful therapeutic tool in targeting medication-resistant auditory hallucinations and negative symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has proven to be very safe and well-tolerated by the patients in spite of its labor intensiveness. The incorporation of transcranial magnetic stimulation to routine clinical use awaits further studies to substantiate its efficacy and to optimize and customize treatment parameters to individual patients and their symptom patterns. Moreover, combining transcranial magnetic stimulation with electroconvulsive therapy to synergize their likely different mechanisms of action is another exciting possibility.
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Clinical Psychology