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Posttraumatic stress disorder comorbidity in patients undergoing ECT for major depressive disorder.

BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not recognized as an indication for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, research indicates promise for this treatment modality. To elucidate the effects of ECT for treating PTSD, prospective research is needed. The first step in assessing the feasibility of such research is to determine if many patients being treated with ECT have comorbid PTSD. This study examined the PTSD comorbidity rates and compared demographic data among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who were treated with ECT vs patients with MDD who were not treated with ECT.

METHODS: Data from patients with MDD were obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

RESULTS: Approximately 10% of patients undergoing ECT for MDD also had PTSD. The difference in comorbidity of PTSD in those treated with ECT vs those not treated with ECT was approximately 1%.

CONCLUSIONS: Prospective naturalistic studies that examine the response of PTSD to ECT are feasible because a sizable number of patients with PTSD are receiving ECT.

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