Computer-Assisted Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Prevent Relapse Following Electroconvulsive Therapy

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Abstract

Objective

The goal of this study was to explore the feasibility and potential efficacy of providing computer-assisted cognitive behavior therapy (CCBT) after an index course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to prevent relapse.

Methods

In an open-label trial, subjects with major depressive episode who achieved response or remission after an acute treatment with ECT were recruited to enroll in a 9-module CCBT course. Subjects completed the CCBT modules in their own home at their own pace, but were asked to do at least 1 lesson per week, such that all 9 lessons would be completed in the first 2 months. Depression severity and relapse were monitored during the 6 months after ECT.

Results

Fifteen subjects (10 responders and 5 remitters) enrolled in the study and logged onto the CCBT course. The mean (SD) number of online lessons completed was 7.6 (1.7) or 84% of the total lessons and the mean (SD) time spent working online was 8.4 (3.9) hours. During the first 2 months (the prescribed time period), the mean (SD) number of lessons completed was 6.5 (1.8), or 72% and the mean (SD) time spent working online was 6.8 (3.2) hours. Of the entire sample of responders and remitters (n = 15), 5 (33%) relapsed at 6 months. Of the 5 remitters, none relapsed during this time period.

Conclusions

Our results provide preliminary evidence that CCBT is feasible following ECT. Large controlled trials are needed to definitively assess whether this strategy is efficacious in preventing relapse.

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