ECT in the Sunday Mirror and on Sky News

ECT statistics

The Sunday Mirror on 13 January 2019 ran a feature about the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in England: “Teenagers with mental health issues given brain electric shock therapy on NHS.”

The article came up with some statistics:

“Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that from 2016 to 2018, 5,165 patients were given shocks to the brain as high as 460 volts.

The patients were aged 16 to 98. The total number of teens treated is not identified but a separate report seen by the Mirror shows one in six NHS Trusts administered ECT to under-18s.”

The figures are an underestimate as the report says that 37 trusts provided them with information. (There are over 50 mental health trusts in England and nearly all of them use ECT.)

The article interviewed professor of psychology John Read, psychiatrist Tim Oakley and two doctors who had undergone the treatment…

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ECT in Belgium: a record number of treatments

ECT statistics

The on-line journal Epilepsia Open has recently (December 2018) published an article by Caroline Schotte and colleagues at Leuven University, Belgium (“Development of temporal lobe epilepsy during maintenance electroconvulsive therapy: a case of human kindling?”).

The authors describe the case of a woman, aged 67, who had 1100 electroconvulsive treatments (ECT), which they say is a record in the literature. After about 800 treatments she developed temporal lobe epilepsy.

“In 1974 she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, refractory to medical treatment. Since  1995 she  was treated  with weekly ECT,  initially with bitemporal  and since 2004 with unilateral  right temporal electrode placement  because of cognitive deterioration. The  ECT frequency was lowered shortly before her  first visit to the outpatient neurological clinic  to once every two weeks. She received a total of over 1100 sessions. ECT proved very effective in  controlling the bipolar disorder. Trials to discontinue ECT in…

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