ALMOST 7,000 electric shock treatments were carried out last year, a highly controversial therapy widely believed to have been consigned to the mental health history books.
The figures show electroconvulsive therapy, immortalised in the 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, is still commonly used for depression and severe mental illness, despite recent research showing it works no better than a sham treatment and can cause brain malfunction and memory loss.
The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, show many ECT patients are elderly and last year it was carried out 1,834 times on people aged 75 and over. There are currently no figures on the number of patients who undergo ECT but experts estimate up to 1,400 people in England and *Scotland received a course of between four and eight ECT sessions last year and 470 of them were over 75.
The figures have been released following a major review of research on shock therapy which concluded the treatment should be banned.