General Article Thousands of women given ‘dangerous’ electric shocks as mental health treatment in England

Topic Selected: Mental Health Book Volume: 415

Figures fuel calls to ban or suspend use of electroconvulsive therapy on NHS.

By Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent

Thousands of women in England with mental health problems are being given electric shock treatment despite concerns the therapy can cause irreparable brain damage.

NHS data seen by The Independent reveals the scale of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) prescribed disproportionately to women, who make up two-thirds of patients receiving the treatment.

Health professionals have warned the therapy can cause brain damage so severe recipients are unable to recognise family and friends or do basic maths.

While some patients say the therapy profoundly helped them, leading mental charities have branded it ‘damaging’ and ‘outdated’ and called for its use to be halted pending an urgent review or banned entirely.

Statistics obtained through Freedom of Information requests by Dr John Read, a professor at the University of East London and leading expert on ECT, showed 67 per cent o...

Would you like to see the rest of this article and all the other benefits that Issues Online can provide with?

Sign up now for an immediate no obligation FREE TRIAL and view the entire collection