Combination of ECT and medicines lessens risk of relapse in older depression patients

Combination of ECT and medicines lessens risk of relapse in older depression patients

It is not easy to treat chronic depression and the tendency to relapse makes the treatment even more difficult. People seeking relief from distress associated with depressive behavior usually tend to get discouraged when they are warned about the possible recurrence of the troubling condition. Researchers are looking for ways to cure depression without any chance of relapse.

A recent study revealed that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), along with antidepressants, can help in the treatment of depression in aged patients. The authors of the Prolonging Remission in Depressed Elderly (PRIDE) study highlighted that additional ECT can aid in continued mood improvements apart from arresting the process of relapse.

The studies, titled “Right Unilateral Ultrabrief Pulse ECT in Geriatric Depression: Phase 1 of the PRIDE Study” and “A Novel Strategy for Continuation ECT in Geriatric Depression: Phase 2 of the PRIDE Study,” tested the impact of the right unilateral ultrabrief ECT on the cognitive abilities. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in July 2016, found no deterioration in the cognitive functioning of the patients during the course of the treatment procedure.

Additional ECT with medicines more effective

The findings were based on an examination of those who had taken part in the PRIDE study. Of the total of 240 depressed participants, aged between 60 and 89 years, 70 percent had exhibited positive response to the first round of treatment. This involved three ECT interventions every week apart from antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor), within a month. It was found that in 62 percent respondents, manifestations of depression had diminished to the extent of the patients feeling respite from the disorder.

The study was conducted in two phases with patients feeling relieved from depression after the initial phase of the PRIDE study and then taking part in the subsequent phase. The second phase was designed to find if additional ECT helped in alleviation of signs of depression. The second phase of the trial consisted of 120 patients who had received either the ECT along with the medication or had been prescribed only medicines.

Preventing relapse in depression possible

An analysis of the depressive levels of the patients revealed that at the end of 24 weeks, signs of depression had visibly reduced in patients who were recommended additional ECT along with medications, compared with those being treated with medicines alone.

The study noted a decrease in the number of patients who received additional ECT along with medications and complained of recurring depressive symptoms. Also, in patients receiving interventions with medications only, relapse was faster than those receiving ECT too. An assessment of the respondents revealed that the patients who received ECT and medications were 5.2 times at greater likelihood of complete recovery, compared to those who had been prescribed medicines only.

Extending necessary care

Acute form of depression can hamper normal life to such an extent that patients can start contemplating suicide. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800,000 people die every year by committing suicide. The fear that exhibiting or sharing feelings of depression would be hailed as a sign of weakness prevents people from seeking help or taking medications. The stigma that people often face due to their mental illness keeps them from attending therapy despite the turmoil they go through.

Treatment for depression must be made accessible to all, irrespective of class, gender, economic background and ethnicity. If you or your loved one is afflicted with any mental disorder, contact the Sovereign Health to know about the available depression treatment centers in California or the best mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online to learn about our facilities, which are among the best depression rehab centers.

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