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Many people will be familiar with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a historical treatment for “mental illness”, in which an electrical current is passed through the brain to trigger seizures, with the aim of somehow treating the illness. My mum had several rounds of ECT many years ago as part of her treatment.

In fact, ECT is still being administered to about a million people each year to treat severe depression, including about 2,500 in England, under anaesthetic. The majority are women, and over 60 years of age. There is no robust evidence that ECT works as a treatment for depression and the negative impact on patients set against any potential benefits is so appalling that ECT cannot be scientifically or ethically justified.

Although some people who have received ECT do believe it has saved their lives, there is still no study evidence that it is more effective than placebo for depression. Many others believe it has irreparably damaged their lives. After ECT my mum continued to experience severe depression and went on to develop cognitive impairment.

I am part of a campaign group led by Professor John Read calling for an urgent review into the practice of ECT. Please email me if you would like more information.

"...because depression can't be fixed by electricity".   John Read

BBC Hereford & Worcester investigation:

Mad in the UK article:

ECT: Service
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