'The number of patients who underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the U.K. rose by 11 percent in the last four years, a shocking new report released by the TheGuardian.com revealed. The prevalence in which this treatment is prescribed depended on local medical preferences. The rise of ECT can be attributed to improved access to the therapy, less negative view of the treatment option, and incorrect prescription.
ECT, also known as electroshock therapy, was initially developed during the 1930s as a treatment for people with severe mental conditions. Patients were induced into an epileptic shock which would – in theory – “reset” the neural connections back to their original, healthy form. Considered archaic and barbaric, the practice was discouraged – though not banned – during the 1960s and 1970s as new treatment options for depression and other ailments were developed. ECT has then been listed as the last resort for people with severe depression. It has been thought that the procedure lost favor among mental health professionals.
The new analysis suggests otherwise. Using the Freedom of Information Act, The Guardian requested every English NHS mental health trust to release data regarding their ECT use between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016. Figures from private clinics were not included. That data showed that there was an 11 percent increase from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016. In fact, almost two-thirds of NHS trusts reported a rise in ECT treatments carried out over that four-year period. The average number of shock therapy per patients also rose, from 9.6 percent in 2012-2013 to 10.1 percent in 2015-2016. More surprisingly was the discovery that specific regions in the U.K. showed dramatic increases in ECT treatments. For example, the Mersey Care NHS trust showed a fairly constant number in ECT treatments whereas the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS foundation had a 75 percent increase. Experts have hypothesized that this alarming revival can be linked to several factors, including a lack of credible alternatives.'
Read more: Think electroshock therapy is a medical brutality from the past? Nearly 23,000 patients were “brain shocked” in the U.K. from 2015-16
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