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Original Papers

Awareness and attitudes regarding electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) among patients and caregivers at a psychiatry unit in a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka

Authors:

T. Gunasekera,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About T.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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R. Fernando,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About R.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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M. U. P. K. Peris,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About M. U. P. K.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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K. A. L. A. Kuruppuarachchi,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About K. A. L. A.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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A. Hapangama

University of Kelaniya, LK
About A.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a life-saving procedure in certain psychiatric conditions and is also extremely effective for treatment resistant psychiatric conditions. Despite the proven safety and efficacy there appears to be unease and stigma attached to ECT. Exploration about the awareness and attitudes regarding ECT among patients and caregivers can improve the practice of ECT.

 

Aims

The aim of this study was to describe awareness and attitudes about ECT among patients and their caregivers.

 

Methods

This was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out among patients and caregivers attending psychiatric facilities at a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka, using an interviewer administered questionnaire.

 

Results

Out of 221 participants, 54% were caregivers. Among the participants, 65% thought that ECT is a treatment used for psychiatric disorders. There was no significant association between educational level and awareness about ECT (p>0.05). The most common source of knowledge about ECT was doctors (43%), but 69% felt doctors have not explained about ECT prior to treatment. Cognitive issues (46%) were the most commonly feared side effect; 5% thought ECT does not have a scientific basis and 20% felt it is an inhuman mode of treatment. Of those interviewed, 38% were of the opinion that they would receive ECT if recommended.

 

Conclusions

Doctors were the most important source of information regarding ECT and a significant proportion of the participants knew that it is used in treating psychiatric disorders. Only a minority thought ECT didn’t have a scientific basis and a considerable proportion were willing to undergo ECT if recommended. Despite popular beliefs this cohort of participants appeared to have a favourable awareness about ECT.
How to Cite: Gunasekera, T., Fernando, R., Peris, M.U.P.K., Kuruppuarachchi, K.A.L.A. and Hapangama, A., 2020. Awareness and attitudes regarding electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) among patients and caregivers at a psychiatry unit in a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 11(2), pp.20–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljpsyc.v11i2.8255
Published on 02 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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