Should electroconvulsive therapy be an early consideration for suicidal patients?

Malini Patel*, Sangeeta Patel, Daniel W. Hardy, Bonnie J. Benzies, Vibhawari Tare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: This article describes a quality management project undertaken for the purpose of ensuring that the most appropriate patients were being selected for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at an 80-bed, state-operated, civil psychiatric facility for the seriously mentally ill. METHOD: Thirty mentally ill patients, including patients with comorbid substance abuse diagnoses, were treated with ECT. Pre-ECT and post-ECT scores on the 24-item Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS-24) were compared with admission and discharge BPRS-24 scores of a control group treated with psychotropic medication. RESULTS: ECT-treated patients demonstrated greater improvement in BPRS scores during a shorter period than did non-ECT-treated patients. Furthermore, the greatest improvement was seen in the areas of depression and expressed suicidal intent. An unanticipated result was that patients with comorbid substance abuse diagnoses treated with ECT showed the most improvement in these areas. CONCLUSION: ECT was shown to be particularly useful in the treatment of suicidally inclined depressed patients, suggesting that ECT should be an early consideration for suicidal patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-115
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Mentally ill
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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