ECT’s bad reputation isn’t justified – but we must be upfront about its problems | Rebecca Lawrence

I know from experience about its often miraculous effects on depression, and its downsides. Both must be clearly set out

Recently I spoke with someone who had, in the past, been given a large number of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. This person thought that the treatment had helped, but that their memory had been permanently affected. I listened reluctantly, thinking of all the other reasons there might be for that – illness, age, medications. It’s easy to blame ECT for difficulties that might have happened anyway. Later, I let myself think about it, knowing that the reason for my unease was that I, too, had undergone a similar number of ECT treatments.

Related: As a psychiatrist, if I had severe depression I’d choose ECT | Mariam Alexander

Rebecca Lawrence is a consultant psychiatrist

In the UK, the charity Mind is available on 0300 123 3393 and Childline on 0800 1111. In the US, Mental Health America is available on 800-273-8255. In Australia, support is available at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, and at MensLine on 1300 789 978

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Category: Mental Health