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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 42 (2000) 11, 811 - 824

Review article

Electroconvulsive therapy in people with intellectual disabilities

J.A. van Waarde, J.J. Stolker, A.C.A. Soleman

background In people with an intellectual disability severe depressive disorders can be diagnosed. Electroconvulsive therapy (ect) is a safe, rapid and effective treatment of depressive disorders.
aims In this overview case reports of two patients with an intellectual disability are described, who were succesfully treated with ect for a severe depressive disorder. Also a review of literature is presented.
method In standard works and Medline was searched for literature of ect in intellectually disabled people.
results Totally 27 patients were found. In case reports good results of ect in these patients are reported.
conclusions The authors argue to treat people with an intellectual disability, like nonhandicapped, with ect when indicated such as in a severe depressive disorder, in which multiple medication has failed or medication is contraindicated because of severe side effects for which intellectually disabled patients are more sensitive, or when the psychiatric disorder demands urgent treatment.

keywords depression, electroconvulsive therapy, intellectual disability, mental retardation