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Understanding electroconvulsive therapy-related anxiety: a prospective study

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

AIMS OF STUDY: Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)-related anxiety is experienced by a significant proportion of patients, it remains understudied. Our aim was to study the course of ECT-related anxiety during ECT. METHODS: Seventy-four patients with unipolar or bipolar depression, referred for ECT, were included. ECT-related anxiety was assessed the morning before each ECT session using the ECT-related Anxiety Questionnaire (ERAQ). RESULTS: Female patients reported more anxiety than men (F(1,64.6) = 3.95, P = 0.05). Patients with a psychotic depression were more anxious before the start of ECT (F(64.8) = 4.57, P = 0.04), but experienced a significant decrease in ECT-related anxiety (t(63.9) = -3.63, P = 0.0006), whereas patients with a non-psychotic depression remained stable on anxiety during their ECT course (t(63,9) = 0.76, P = 0.45). In addition, we found a significant correlation between the decrease of ECT-related anxiety and the decrease of depression-severity (r = 0.35; P = 0.04). CONCLUSION: There are individual differences in ECT-related anxiety trajectories during ECT. Both female patients and patients with psychotic depression experienced more ECT-related anxiety before the start of ECT. The severity of ECT-related anxiety decreased significantly in patients with a psychotic depression, but remained stable in patients without a psychotic depression during ECT. In addition, patients who showed a stronger decrease in depression-severity also showed a stronger decrease in ECT-related anxiety. A better understanding of ECT-related anxiety trajectories can help in designing anxiety-reducing interventions.
Journal: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
ISSN: 0001-690X
Issue: 2
Volume: 142
Pages: 132 - 140
Number of pages: 9
Publication year:2020