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Electroconvulsive therapy of acute manic episodes: a review of 50 years' experience
Am J Psychiatry 1994;151:169-176.
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OBJECTIVE: The most common indication for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is major depression. It is less recognized that ECT is effective also in the treatment of acute mania. This article aims to provide a comprehensive and critical review of the literature on the use of ECT for manic patients. METHOD: All published papers in the English language on the use of ECT in acute mania that could be found were reviewed with regard to efficacy, frequency and number of treatments, bilateral versus unilateral electrode placement, predictors of antimanic response, stability of therapeutic response, cognitive consequences, and other relevant issues. RESULTS: The evidence indicates that ECT is associated with remission or marked clinical improvement in 80% of manic patients and that it is an effective treatment for patients whose manic episodes have responded poorly to pharmacotherapy. Manic patients do not require a high frequency or prolonged course of treatments to respond to ECT. The seizure threshold appears to be lower in manic patients than in depressed patients. The issues of relapse following response to ECT, cognitive consequences of ECT, and the relative merits of unilateral versus bilateral ECT in manic patients require further study. CONCLUSIONS: ECT is an effective and safe treatment for acute mania. Remission of mania following ECT reflects a primary therapeutic effect rather than a secondary consequence of an ECT-induced organic brain syndrome.

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