A new study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry has suggested that depression patients should be given more access to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a modern form of treatment, if they do not find relief with other approaches such as talk therapy or antidepressant medications. Today, shock therapy involves much milder form of electrical impulses unlike decades ago. The cost-effectiveness of ECT is closely looked at in the study. Conversations between patients and doctors and policymakers and insurers’ depression care decisions could be informed by the findings of the study.

ECT Found Cost-effective Earlier in Treatment Course of Depression

A simulation of potential journeys of patients through several strategies of depression treatment was created by the researchers with the help of data received from highly regarded and recent clinical studies. Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two was found to be more cost-effective to treat depression compared to ECT. However, ECT surfaced as a cost-effective option for “treatment resistant” depression patients whose symptoms were not relieved after the use of two different treatments.

According to Daniel Maixner, MD, senior author of the study, remission could be best produced with ECT treatment. Findings of the study bring to light the potential of ECT being a cost-effective option that could be used earlier in depression treatment. This is in addition to the idea of clinically using ECT sooner in the treatment. ECT could come out as one of the best treatments to achieve remission when the chances are straightaway reduced to low numbers due to long duration of depression or multiple medication failures.

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