Electroconvulsive therapy in adolescents: Similarities to and differences from adults

Yuval Bloch*, Yechiel Levcovitch, Aviva M. Mimouni Bloch, Shlomo Mendlovic, Gideon Ratzoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Information on the indications, technique, and effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in adolescent patients is scarce. The recommendations for the use of ECT in this age group are similar to those in adults. This study compares the experience with ECT in the two age groups in the same community psychiatric institution, which adheres to the accepted protocols for diagnosis and treatment. Method: The files of 24 consecutive adolescent patients treated in an ECT unit located in the center of Israel in the years 1991-1995 were retrospectively examined, and the findings were compared with those in 33 adult patients who started their ECT course on the same day. The technique for applying ECT was essentially the same in the two age groups. Results: ECT was equally effective for adolescents and adults (58% in each group achieved remission). The main difference was the diagnosis for which patients were referred: most of the adolescents were in the "psychotic spectrum," whereas most of the adults were in the "affective spectrum." Conclusions: The findings support the current medical recommendations for the use of ECT in adolescents. Possible explanations for the differences in diagnosis between the two age groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1336
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Affective disorders
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Psychosis


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