The British Journal of Psychiatry
Is Unilateral ECT Less Effective Than Bilateral ECT?


The review of studies performed under adequate methodological conditions shows that ND-ECT has the same antidepressive effect as BI-ECT. This is in agreement with our knowledge that the antidepressive factor of ECT is bound to the seizure. ND-ECT has the advantage of a much lower frequency and intensity of side effects. In endogenous depression, ND-ECT should be the treatment of choice.

The data concerning the therapeutic efficacy of ND-ECT in other mental disturbances, such as schizophrenia and confusion, do not at present allow any objective evaluation. In these cases it is not clear whether ECT is an electrical or a convulsive treatment. However, present evidence indicates that ND-ECT and BI-ECT are equally efficacious.