Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 135  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 201-210

Knowledge, experience & attitudes concerning electroconvulsive therapy among patients & their relatives

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
S Chakrabarti
Additional Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 22446862

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Background & objectives: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used frequently in developing countries, but investigations of patients' awareness and perception of ECT are rare. The present study thus attempted a comprehensive examination of knowledge, experience and attitudes concerning ECT among patients treated with brief-pulse, bilateral, modified ECT, and their relatives. Methods: Of the 153 recipients of ECT, 77 patients and relatives were eventually assessed using questionnaires designed to evaluate their awareness and views about ECT. Results: Patients were middle-aged, poorly-educated, often unemployed, with chronic, severe, and predominantly psychotic illnesses. Relatives were mainly parents, older, better-educated and usually employed. Apart from the very rudimentary aspects, patients were largely unaware of the procedure. Though most did not find the experience of ECT upsetting, sizeable proportions expressed dissatisfaction with aspects such as informed consent, fear of treatment and memory impairment. Although patients were mostly positive about ECT, ambivalent attitudes were also common, but clearly negative views were rare. Relatives were significantly likely to be more aware, more satisfied with the experience and have more favourable attitudes towards ECT, than patients. Interpretation & conclusions: The results endorse the notion that recipients of ECT are generally well-disposed towards the treatment, but also indicate areas where practice of ECT needs to be improved to enhance satisfaction among patients and relatives.

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