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The National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the UK has recommended limiting the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), partly because of the inadequacy of research into the effects of ECT on quality of life and function.
To examine the effects of ECT on function and quality of life, particularly as they relate to changes in mood and cognition in the month following this therapy.
We measured changes in quality of life, function, mood and cognition in a prospective sample of 77 depressed patients given ECT.
All quality of life and function outcomes were improved at the 2-week and 4-week marks after ECT. Improvement in quality of life was related to mood, whereas improvement in instrumental activities of daily living function was related to improvement in global cognition.
Electroconvulsive therapy is associated with early improvement in function and quality of life. A restrictive attitude towards this therapy is not warranted on the basis of its effects on quality of life and function.
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