Evidence for Electroconvulsive Therapy for OCD Limited, Study Finds


While current treatment guidelines for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) do not recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the NIMH is supporting new research into the use of ECT and deep brain stimulation (DBS) for OCD treatment.  Leonardo Fontenelle and his colleagues at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil set out to examine studies on ECT treatment for OCD and found the existing research to be too limited and inconclusive.

Their analysis, published in the July 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, reviewed 50 articles on the treatment effects of ECT on OCD and found that in over 60% of cases OCD patients had a positive response to ECT but the lack of any randomized control trials limited the weight of the existing evidence.

The researchers concluded: “Although nonrandomized and cohort studies, case series, and some single case reports have suggested beneficial effects of ECT in OCD under special circumstances, these studies are limited by a lack of standardized assessment of results, history of less than optimal treatment of OCD, and poorly defined treatment resistance”


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Fontenelle, L. F., Coutinho, E. S., Lins-Martins, N. M., Fitzgerald, P. B., Fujiwara, H., & Yücel, M. (2015). Electroconvulsive therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder: a systematic review. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. (Abstract)


  1. Another study with a lot of meaningless “gobbedly-gook” wording for something that only exists either as a side-effect of the terrifically toxic, addictive psychiatric drugs or in a movie starring Jack Nicholson that promoted “pills for personality.” I was once allegedly diagnosed with this OCD stuff; all mostly because I checked the locks on my doors after an apartment break-in, I was being obsessively accused by a supervisor and when I was working in the office alone; I became a little paranoid ( I was taking the evil drugs at that time) and I just took a little more time in the shower than other people. Can you imagine these “ruthless” therapists were questioning about my very private behavior in the shower? Is absolutely nothing sacred to these people? I always liked taking a shower as it was the closest thing to two of nature’s glories that I feel especially akin: rain and waterfalls. I know this really sounds cynical; but, I am waiting for these “medical hoodlums” to create a disorder, disease, or diagnosis out of wanting to be outdoors, in nature, in the wilderness, etc. I guess it would be some type of avoidant disorder so it would necessitate toxic drugs or some kind of toxic therapy or treatment to rid the person of this affinity for the natural. They will figure out a way to manipulate the wording and phrasing so as to affect the necessary result that can only be described as evil. Please forgive me for being so cynical and negative. I am not this way “normally” just when dealing with the “mental illness criminal conspiracy” and sometimes as that seeps into “traditional/regular” medicine. Thank you

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    • Talking to a psychiatrist is like walking on a minefield. Everything you say can and will be used against you – people should be getting Miranda warnings before meeting with one. I find the strategy of Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo most effective – avoid them as much as you can and refuse to talk to them ever.

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  2. How could ECT possibly treat OCD?

    Obsessive thinking and behaviors are thinking and behaviors that occur due to many different causes, are not one illness, and so there is no reliable construct being evaluated behind this study.

    What a waste of time… trying talking to people and understand why they are obsessive, rather than zapping them.

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  3. Hey, give them some Ketamine with the shock, or maybe skip the shock and just shoot them up with “Special K”. This might create a bunch of K-head addicts like they have in China, but the craving for the drug will obliviate the pesky symptoms of OCD, and be a boon for the drug suppliers, both legal and illegal.

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  4. I say; “zap!, zap! zap!” So Owellian, so Aldous Huxley; so full of Frankenstein and grade b and c horror and science fiction movies seen way deep into a sleepless night. I realize that Gene Roddenberry and the Star Trek series may have influenced the way we inhabit modern technology; but, relying on grade b and grade c horror and technology movies for inspiration and then production and eventually usage is “sicker” and ‘lazier” than any alleged disorder or disease we thought we might be “fixing.” Thank you.

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