ECT News - In the Headlines

New ECT guidelines issued in UK:
UK - New guidelines on shock therapy
Electric shock treatment should only be used when other options have failed and where patients have been involved in the decision, according to new government guidelines.

Britain Issues Guidance on Use of Shock Therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) should only be used to achieve quick improvement of severe symptoms in people with depression, catatonia or prolonged manic episodes, according to new guidelines issued by British authorities on Thursday.

Use of shock therapy restricted
Electric shock therapy should only be used on patients as a last resort, an NHS watchdog has ruled. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has said electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) should also be restricted to certain types of patients.

Guidelines on ECT use welcomed
Mental health experts welcomed new medical guidelines today for the use of electric shock therapy.

Psychiatrists' appeal to NICE to drop new restrictions on ECT fails as users' views win respect
An appeal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) to drop new restrictions on ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) treatments, contained in draft guidance, has failed.

I'll defy ECT guidelines, vows top psychiatrist
Scottish medic pledges to flout government ban on long-term use of electroconvulsive therapy. A leading Scottish psychiatrist has pledged to flout government guidelines and continue to give depressed patients regular electric shock treatment for periods of several years.

Scary Stories: Lou Reed
Lou Reed talks about his latest walk on the wild side - a musical exploration of the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe

SCI resolution on electroshock passed
Support Coalition International today passed a resolution condemning electroshock as a human rights violation. The Board of Directors agreed that electroshock "directly violates section 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which outlaws "cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment", and the UN Convention Against Torture."
Resolution Against Electroshock - A Crime Against Humanity

Abolished
ECT has been abolished in the Republic of Slovenia.

Yes or No?
Sort of a point/counterpoint by two UK experts.
Taking a stand against ECT, Tom Keen of Plymouth University:
ECT is ineffective, unsafe, cruel and crude and causes patients to experience severe and disabling psychological side effects - anything from social unease to memory loss. We have absolutely no idea how shock treatment works, yet it is being administered in this country in a way that is, at times, completely cavalier.
For ECT, Psychiatrist Mark Salter:
Yes, the effects of ECT often don't last very long, but I would rather have six or seven weeks relief from a psychiatric illness than none at all. Also, at least two people I have given ECT in the past five years are still well now. (ed comment: two patients in five years is not something I'd be bragging about)

ECT practitioners and users welcome review
From the UK: News that the national institute for clinical excellence (Nice) has been asked to deliver a definitive verdict on the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has led to rare agreement between psychiatrists and service users on the controversial practice.

Few medical treatments have so divided health professionals and service users as ECT. While regarded as a lifesaver by most psychiatrists, many former patients believe that it is barbaric and has ruined their lives. However, both the pro and anti lobby have welcomed the Nice review, believing its appraisal guidance will raise standards of practice.

Pamphlet withdrawn in Australia
Distribution of a pamphlet on electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment) published by the Mental Health Division of the Health Department of West Australia, has been discontinued, following a complaint.

Hormone link to ECT side effects
An interesting piece from BBC News: In this small study, a researcher claims that a hormone test prior to ECT can determine who will benefit and who will be harmed from ECT. As it stands now, it's all a crapshoot, with the outcome only known post-ECT.

New UK Poll
The top ten things that drive psychiatrists to distraction, according to a new poll released in Britian. Among these: Ritual abuse legends, Multiple Personality theory, Repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse trauma, šThe APA's DSM IV, Psychodynamics, Psychoanalysis, Shock treatment, Freud, Laing, Frontal lobotomy, anal personality tests.

No warnings
Patients are not being given enough information or being offered the chance to opt out of a controversial treatment for depression, says a charity.

Time Magazine
New Sparks over electroshock
The old treatment has come a long way since Cuckoo's Nest. But some still question its safety...this is a very fair, balanced article by Time writer John Cloud. It's nice to see the media listening to the real issues for a change instead of acting as cheerleader for the electroshock industry.

Tenet in more trouble!
Once again, Tenet Healthcare Corporation finds itself in trouble over its management of its psychiatric facilities.

NAMI and censorship
NAMI censors important medical information! And it just keeps getting more bizarre...

Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly published an article on ECT and controversy has erupted. Read the article, and click on Post and Riposte to leave your thoughts.

The Trouble With Spikol
Liz Spikol of Philadelphia Weekly wrote a great column in response to the Atlantic mess: "Shocked and Appalled: If The Atlantic Monthly can't get its facts straight about shock treatments, I suppose it's up to me." And don't miss the great letters that poured in.
The full series


Canadian Province Calls for Investigation
Vancouver - The province has ordered an independent investigation to determine why electroshock treatments administered to geriatric patients at British Columbia's major psychiatric hospital have more than doubled since doctors began to be paid extra for the procedure. Insider speaks out!

Extra! Outspoken doctor RESIGNS: "My professional and personal concerns have come from the heart," says Dr. Jaime Paredes. "In response, my questions have been met with indifference and defensiveness from certain quarters."

The final report. Among the recommendations: start keeping statistics.

More on the Riverview scandal: A psychiatrist at Riverview Hospital says he has been fired for blowing the whistle on "greedy" colleagues and trying to protect elderly patients. Dr. Jaime Paredes, who alleged last year that some doctors at the institution were performing needless electro-shock therapy to plump their bank accounts, said he was told a week ago his contract was being terminated.

"Compassionate" ECT doc loses license over sex scandal
Christian Hageseth had a website devoted to bringing humor and fun to ECT. His patients wore gowns decorated in balloon motifs, and carried snugly bears into the treatment room. But the doctor who wanted to make ECT a fun experience apparently applied the word "fun" a little too literally to some of his patients. You can read the entire story here, plus read a scathing review of the video he originally attempted to sell on his website.

Renowned Psychiatrist Resigns From APA in "Disgust"
Saying the field of psychiatry has been bought out by the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Loren Mosher angrily resigns from the American Psychiatric Association.

From Psychology Today
Are Psychiatrists Betraying Their Patients? More on Dr. Mosher...