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ECT for Catatonia in Autism 

ECT for Catatonia in Autism
ECT for Catatonia in Autism
Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children and Adolescents

Dirk M. Dhossche

and Lee E. Wachtel


This chapter describes catatonia in adolescents and the use of ECT in its treatment. The primary focus of this chapter is catatonia associated with autism. Although catatonia is associated with a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions, catatonia associated with autism may be the most common subtype encountered by a child and an adolescent psychiatrist. The chapter defines catatonia, and describes common signs and symptoms, medical and psychiatric work up, and treatment. ECT and benzodiazepines are the only treatments known to result in positive outcomes. Therefore, the focus of this chapter is the optimum use of benzodiazepines and ECT. Certain ECT variables are likely to maximize the treatment outcome, including the electrode placement, duration of treatment and the use of maintenance ECT. Medications which may interfere with ECT are described in the chapter.

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