Q: Can ECT Cause Mania?
Thank you so much for your very informative website. Much appreciated.
A quick question. Last Sept/Oct I was severely depressed, and suffering from
delusions. Medications weren't helping and suicide was a real risk so my
psychiatrist suggested ECT. I had 6 ECT treatments and totally recovered. I had
been feeling quite a bit better after the 3rd one. My parents had previously
booked a holiday away to the Canary Islands and because I was feeling fine I was
keen to go. My Dr was a bit cautious but agreed to letting me go.
Halfway during the week, 1 week after the last ECT I started becoming manic, and
my mood contiued to escalate. I saw a dr out there who prescribed diazepam to
help me get home on the plane. My mood didn't totally settle down for another 8
Does ECT cause mania?? Or is it possible this was just the natural cycle of my
mood as I do tend to become depressed and then cycle into mania. Maybe it was
the increase in sunlight??? It wasn't the time zone difference as Ireland is on
the same time as the Canary Islands. I would love to know because I found ECT to
be so beneficial for my depression but if I thought it would cause mania I
wouldn't have it again. I have searched for an answer to this on the internet
and have yet to find one. I have discovered that it treats mania which confuses
me even more!!
Thank you for your time
Dear J' --
Thanks for including that last line. You're right, it treats mania, so
that even if it had been responsible for inducing this episode (possible; ECT is
known to be able to do this), I wouldn't think that was a reason not to use it
again if necessary. As you've surely concluded yourself, taking some measures
next time, if there is a next time, to make sure that a recovering depression
doesn't go right on into mania, would obviously be wise -- e.g. some mood
stabilizer either through the ECT or at least starting up right after any clear
shift upward in mood.
But you've also wisely included other possible
factors. You've learned that cross-time-zone travel is a known stimulus and
ruled that out. But I have one very stable patient who had a clear manic
episode going to Mexico from Oregon, only a slight eastward shift. So I think
the "light" factor is a possibility as well. You'd have to look back, as you've
likely done, at just how much sleep you might have lost during the travel --
perhaps because of responding to earlier sunrise, or perhaps more simply just
during the travel itself.
Published October, 2004