Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Autism

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The mechanism of action of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is not fully elucidated, with prevailing theories ranging from neuroendocrinological to neuroplasticity effects of ECT or epileptiform brain plasticity. Youth with autism can present with catatonia. ECT is a treatment that can safely and rapidly resolve catatonia in autism and should be considered promptly. The literature available for ECT use in youth with autism is consistently growing. Under-recognition of the catatonic syndrome and delayed diagnosis and implementation of the anticatatonic treatment paradigms, including ECT, as well as stigma and lack of knowledge of ECT remain clinical stumbling blocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Autism
  • Catatonia
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Neuroplasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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