A recent issue of the Dutch Psychiatric Journal, Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie includes an article entitled “Electro-convulsive treatment of elderly patients with both behavioural problems and dementia” by B.L.I.A.M. Kramer, T. Albronda and D.L. Clarenbach-wierda.
The authors describe how three women, all in their eighties, were given ECT in attempt to control their behaviour. The women were all diagnosed with dementia; one also had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and one of anxiety. The women had been treated with a variety of drugs, including citalopram, haloperidol, oxazepam, lithium, olanzapine, and nortriptyline.
One patient received 8 treatments, the other two received 12 treatments – all of them bilateral. Two of the women were treated with the ECT machine (a Thymatron DGX) on a setting of 100% or more, meaning they received electric shocks of over 500 millicoulombs.
The authors described the patients as improved and concluded that ECT, preferably bilateral, can be tried when drugs or other forms of treatment have not had the desired effect.