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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 100-105

Knowledge about and attitude toward electroconvulsive therapy of elderly patients with severe mental disorders


Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.152430

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Background: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is quite often used in elderly patients with severe mental disorders. One of the important factors which determine the acceptance of ECT among patients is the knowledge and attitude toward ECT. Aim: The present study attempted to assess the knowledge about and attitude toward ECT among elderly patients with severe mental disorders who had never received ECT. Materials and Methods: Knowledge and attitudes regarding ECT were assessed using ECT knowledge and attitude questionnaires, among 102 clinically stable elderly patients with severe mental disorders. Results: Majority (n = 62; 60.8%) of the patients obtained information mostly from "general word of mouth" or media (n = 23; 22.6%). None of the patients had full knowledge about ECT. Majority of the patients were not aware of the basic facts about ECT. Except for the fact that ECT involves use of electric current and can be given by a doctor, more than two-third of the patients were unaware of the basic facts about the procedure of ECT. Less than half of the patients were aware of the need for informed consent. Knowledge about indications, efficacy, and side effects of ECT was also very poor. In terms of attitude toward ECT, on most (15 out of 16) of the items, positive attitudes toward ECT were found in less than half of the patients (8.8-44.1%). In addition, significant proportions of patients were uncertain about their attitudes to ECT (35.3-66.7%) or had a negative attitude toward ECT (4.9-32.4%). There was significant positive correlation between the total knowledge and attitude score, suggesting that higher knowledge was associated with more positive attitude and vice versa. There was no relationship of total knowledge and total attitude score with demographic and clinical variables. Conclusions: Elderly patients with severe mental disorders have poor knowledge, and a significant proportion of them have a negative attitude toward ECT. Accordingly, it is important that medical professionals should impart proper information about ECT to elderly patients to increase the acceptability of ECT in this age group who more often respond well to ECT.


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