For nearly two hours in Chicago recently, psychiatrists from all over the world discussed electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
It is the most effective and satisfying treatment for severe depression, said Gary Aden, MD, of San Diego, despite the abuse that has been heaped on it by critics.
It can be used as an ongoing prophylactic treatment, said William Karliner, MD, of Scarsdale, NY, who has used "maintenance ECT" extensively for the prevention of psychotic relapses.
Others emphasized that ECT averts the side effects of pharmacotherapy, notably neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia; that it is helpful for adolescents who do not respond rapidly to antipsychotics; and that it does not have to be given in the standard dosage of three seizures per week. Rather, it can be administered at the rate of four to six seizures per week, or even eight seizures in one or two sessions.
"I would not give up on an