One of the largest ever studies of patients with untreatable bipolar disorder has shown that ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) was able to reduce suicide risk by 84% in high-risk patients, as well as giving effective treatment to around 72% of sufferers.
Bipolar disorder, where patients exhibit emotional instability and may experience very severe mood swings, is amongst the most common mental health disorders. It affects around 1% of Europeans, meaning that approximately 5 million Europeans suffer. Bipolar disorder can cause mixed states of mania and depression; this mix can lead to an increased risk of suicide, since sufferers may simultaneously experience both the symptoms of depression (such as the sense of guilt and worthlessness) and symptoms of mania (such as increased activity and tendency to act without thinking twice). Most patients can control the condition via prescription drugs, but almost a third of patients are resistant to treatment.
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