ECT depression therapy should be suspended, study suggests

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The use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat depression should be immediately suspended, a study says.

ECT involves passing electric currents through a patient’s brain to cause seizures or fits.

Dr John Read, of the University of East London said there was “no place” for ECT in evidence-based medicine due to risks of brain damage.

But the Royal College of Psychiatrists said ECT offers “life-saving treatment” and should continue in severe cases.

At least 1,600 patients were given ECT in the UK and Ireland in 2017, according to psychiatrists.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) currently recommends the use of ECT for some cases of moderate or severe depression as well as catatonia and mania.

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Dr Read describes previous research justifying the use of ECT as ‘the lowest quality of any I have seen in my 40-year career’


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Coronation Street actor Beverley Callard has spoken of how she underwent electroconvulsive therapy to treat her clinical depression

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