PROFILE: Personality Difficulties as Predictors of Response and Cognitive Side Effects following Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective known treatment for severe and/or treatment-resistant depression. Its use, however, is limited by adverse cognitive effects, mainly loss of memory for personally experienced events (“retrograde amnesia”). Furthermore, not all patients exhibit equally good response to ECT. It is well-established that older age, psychosis and shorter episode duration are associated with better therapeutic outcome. However, other less well studied patient characteristics may also predict response to ECT. One such patient characteristic is the presence of personality difficulties. Previous research on this topic has yielded promising but inconsistent results. There is some evidence that patients with personality disorders may experience less therapeutic benefit from ECT.

The purpose of this retrospective cohort study is to examine personality difficulties as a predictor of therapeutic response and objective cognitive side effects after ECT. Being able to better predict in advance who is more likely to benefit from this treatment could help us target treatment delivery to those most likely to benefit from it.

In the interest of transparency, please see a Public Notice regarding this project.