1.1 Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
has successful, fast results.
1.1.1 Studies have found that the brain
chemistry change after the procedure is
almost instant as well as immediate relief
of symptoms of some mental illnesses.
1.1.2 Typically, patients begin to see
significant improvement after just 2 or
3 treatments while other medications
sometimes take weeks to be effective.
184.108.40.206 Electroconvulsive therapy is an ideal option
for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts
or experience debilitating manic episodes.
1.1.3 Electroconvulsive therapy in known to
succesfully treat cases that medication could not.
1.1.4 ECT is known to treat "hard-to-treat cases"
such as depression, Schizophrenia, severe
Mania, Catatonia, Tourette Syndrome and
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
220.127.116.11 Studies found that ECT works
on more than 80% of people
with major depression
18.104.22.168 Studies states that "No
treatment has ever been more
effective for depression."
22.214.171.124 A nurse at a hospital reported "I have
seen severely depressed people who
were unable to dress or feed
themselves; I had to change their
diapers because they were so regressed
and withdrawn. By the end of their ECT
treatments they were smiling, eating
and drinking on their own. It's as if they
were brought back from the dead."
126.96.36.199 In one study, ECT was given for
eight weeks to seventeen patients
who had failed to respond to
lithium. After the treatments, all
1.1.5 Star Wars actress, Carrie Fisher struggles with
mental illness and explained on Oprah that she
gets ECT every six weeks for her manic depression
symptoms. She swears it’s saving her life.
1.1.6 Mind, a mental illness
campaign, conducted a
survey, in 2001, of mental
health service users who
had received ECT.
188.8.131.52 ‘If I had not received ECT
I would be dead by now.’
1.1.7 “The effect of the treatment was amazing. All psychotic thoughts diminished,
and I started to feel as if I was finally being lifted from the big, black hole I had
been in. I honestly believe that, had I not received ECT, I would not be living the
full, happy and healthy life that I am living today.” (Woman, Hertfordshire)
1.1.8 “It just seems to help me out of my depressed
state of mind very quickly.” (Man, no area given)
1.2 Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has
been modified to be a safe treatment.
1.2.1 In the early years of ECT, the electrical currents
were delivered in more powerful doses administered
without anesthesia therapy. In the past, ECT was
painful and had serious side effects such as broken bones.
184.108.40.206 Currently, ECT treatment lowed levels of
electrical currents and uses muscle relaxants
and anesthesia in order to reduce the severe
spasms that generated injuries in the past.
1.2.2 ECT is ten times less likely
to kill you than childbirth.
1.2.3 ECT is about 1000 times safer
than untreated major depression.
1.2.4 80% of people who have had
ECT report that the procedure
was no more frightening than
going to the dentist.
1.2.5 The public's concerns about ECT arise from
the gruesome way in which the treatment
has been portrayed by the popular media.
220.127.116.11 The film "One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest."
18.104.22.168 Stereotypes of Frankenstein,
mad scientists and electrocution.
1.2.6 “The equipment is much improved —
newer generations, easier to use, and
more precise,” Dr. Furman, director of
the ECT Program at Butler Hospital.
1.3 The risks of ECT often
times outweigh the risks
of not being treated.
1.3.1 “We always weigh out the risks and benefits of doing
ECT as well as the risks of not doing ECT, most patients
who turn to ECT have depression with physical
manifestations, such as an inability to get out of bed for
days at a time or eat or drink. If you are so depressed
that you aren’t getting enough fluids, you run the risk
of even more serious health complications” Dr. Furman,
MD, director of the ECT Program at Butler Hospital.
1.3.2 ‘It was a life-saver
to me, as I was very
2.1 Electroconvulsive Therapy comes
with side effects after treatments.
2.1.2 Memory Loss
22.214.171.124 Many patients have trouble remembering
events that occurred a bit prior to
treatment trouble as well as events that
happened after the treatment ended.
loss of reading
126.96.36.199 “I don’t play the piano, organ or violin any
more, as I can’t remember how to. It seems my
long-term memory has gone forever. Memories
from my past five years, and more, have become
either vague or have gone.” (Man, Berkshire.)
188.8.131.52 “I qualified as a maths teacher. Following all this ECT, I have no
understanding of the maths concepts used in my further
education courses, or even O-level standard.” (Woman, Cleveland.)
184.108.40.206 In one study, 55% of patients
felt that they had not regained
normal memory function, three
years after receiving ECT.
220.127.116.11 An American psychologist conducted detailed autobiographical
interviews with 19 people who were about to have ECT, and with a
control group who did not have ECT. He then questioned both
groups about the same information afterwards He found that all
the 19 patients showed a number of instances of forgetting their
former memories the control group whose memories were
unchanged He followed up half of the ECT patients a year later,
and there had been no return of the lost memories
2.1.3 Physical Side Effects
18.104.22.168 Typically, patients experience
headaches, jaw and muscle pain and
nausea right after their treatment.
2.1.4 Cognitive Impairment
22.214.171.124 ECT typically causes trouble
remembering, learning new things,
concentrating, or making decisions
that affect their everyday life.
2.2 The benefits of ECT
aren’t always permanent.
2.2.1 ECT can be very effective in the short-term but
it often needs regular treatment to keep
symptoms at bay to reduce the risk of relapse.
2.2.2 The relapse rates in the year following ECT
are likely to be high unless antidepressant
medications are subsequently prescribed.
2.3 Many feel that ECT is
useless and damaging.
2.3.1 Mind conducted a survey, in 2001, of mental
health service users who had received ECT.
126.96.36.199 ‘I would happily die rather
than have ECT again.’
188.8.131.52 27% found it unhelpful/damaging in the short
term while 43% felt that it was unhelpful or
damaging in the long term.
184.108.40.206 Two-thirds would not
agree to have it again.
220.127.116.11 “Under no
circumstances would I
choose to have ECT. I
would rather go down
fighting than submit to
(Woman, no area given)
18.104.22.168 ‘It was hell on earth.’ (Woman,
Dorset, ECT three to five years ago.)
2.4 The ECT Handbook has
many recommendations that
hospitals do not follow.
2.4.1 Handbook Recommendations
22.214.171.124 ECT treatment centre should consist
of at least 3 rooms: a waiting, a
treatment room and a recovery area.
126.96.36.199 An anaesthetist and a
psychiatrist must be present for a
treatment session to take place.
188.8.131.52 ECT procedure must have a nurse, who the
patient knows and trusts, to escort the patient.
184.108.40.206 In the treatment room, there
must be an electrocardiogram
machine to measure blood
pressure, a defibrillator to restart
the heart and a standard box of
drugs in case of cardiac arrest.
220.127.116.11 All staff working in the ECT unit need regular training updating
and practice in basic advanced life support techniques.
2.4.2 A survey of the 230 sites
in England and Wales that
provide ECT found that:
18.104.22.168 32% of sites did not have a
dedicated ECT procedure
area of three rooms.
22.214.171.124 36% of sites did not have a nurse in
the recovery room trained
in basic life support and
126.96.36.199 5% of sites did not have either copies of The ECT
Handbook or the hospital’s own policy for ECT.
2.5.1 Support Coalition International internet, an anti-ECT
group gathered evidence that doctors are administering
ECT by force to patients who in many cases have refused.