The Efficacy of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Managing Self-Injurious Behaviors Among Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review

This review is available for download here


Self-Injurious Behaviors (SIB) in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) form a constellation of particularly pervasive and harmful symptoms signifying high morbidity for children and adolescents. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been proposed as a last resort for particularly severe and treatment-resistant forms of SIB, yet has received little acceptance in mainstream clinical psychology. This paper summarizes findings of four studies investigating the effic- acy of ECT in treating SIB in ASD inflicted youth. This paper also evaluates the research on potential side-effects and ethical implications of ECT use. I conclude that while extensive further research is required to understand the implications of usage, that ECT may bear the potential to benefit an erstwhile untreated population.



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Themal I. Ellawala

Themal I. Ellawala

Themal Ellawala '17 is a Psychology major with a special interest in the intersection of Clinical Psychology and social justice. He is particularly interested in the prevalence of mental health issues in racial and sexual minorities, and how stigma and discrimination leads to poorer outcomes among such demographics. He is currently involved in studies in Clark’s Hyatt School of Psychology examining internalized psychopathology, e ective interventions to mediate relationship stress, and volunteers in Clark’s CAVE program. He hails from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and hopes to use his research to create greater awareness of sexual minorities who live in the shadows of his country.