Thousands Given Brain-Damaging Electric Shock Treatment

Thousands of women with mental health have been receiving electric shock treatment even though it can cause irreversible brain damage, according to recent data.

The data has also shown that women have unequally received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). They make up two-thirds of all patients who have received this treatment.

Many health professionals have warned about the side effects of ECT and that it can cause brain damage and memory loss. This can leave patients unable to remember names or recognise family members, or calculate basic sums.

Data from the NHS could only prove that 16% of all ECT treatment was successful.

What do mental health charities say?

Although some patients have stated that ECT has helped them overall, many mental health charities dispute this claim.

Mental health spokesperson, Stephen Buckley, from the charity Mind called for a review of the use of ECT and states the treatment is a “potentially risky physical treatment”.

What do the experts say?

Information gained by Dr John Read, a leading expert on ECT from the University of East London, showed that out of 1,924 patients that received ECT in 2019, 66% were women.

The statistics also showed that out of 20 NHS trusts, women were twice as likely to receive the treatment as male patients. A worrying 36% of female patients received the treatment without their consent.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that ECT should only be considered for acute treatment of life-threatening severe depression or as a last resort.

Dr Read has claimed that this advice is routinely ignored and has found that ECT has been given as the first resort in many NHS trusts.

Using the treatment as a first resort is fully against NICE’s guidance.

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