J ECT 2012 Dec;28(4):252-5
Spring Harbor Hospital, Westbrook, ME, USA.
Objectives: We report a positive response to electroconvulsive therapy in a severely functionally impaired adolescent with autistic disorder and classic bipolar I disorder, including an episodic pattern of decreased need for sleep, hypersexuality, expansive and agitated affect, aggression, self-injury, and property destruction.
Methods: After ineffective trials of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics as well as inability to sustain a positive response to lithium due to medication noncompliance, a course of acute and maintenance electroconvulsive therapy was attempted.
Results: A marked and sustained improvement across all symptom categories, as measured by directly observed frequency counts of target behaviors in an inpatient setting, was obtained.
Conclusions: Electroconvulsive therapy should be considered a potentially useful intervention in cases of children with autistic disorder and a severe comorbid affective disorder.