Professionals and ECT Recipients Request Suspension of ECT in NHS


From The University of East London: “Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is still administered to about a million people annually, including about 2,500 people in the UK, predominantly women over the age of 60.

On Thursday, July 2nd 40 mental health professionals and researchers, and ECT recipients and their family members, are writing to Peter Wyman, Chair of the Care Quality Commission to ‘request that ECT be immediately suspended throughout the NHS, pending research to determine its efficacy and safety.’

The letter, copied to Ministers and the CEOs and Medical Directors of all NHS mental health Trusts, is responding to a recent 40-page review of ECT research,* co-authored by Professor Irving Kirsch, of Harvard Medical School. It found no evidence that ECT is superior to placebo, and concluded:

‘Given the high risk of permanent memory loss and the small mortality risk, the longstanding failure to determine whether or not ECT works means that its use should be immediately suspended until a series of well designed, randomised, placebo controlled studies have investigated whether there really are any significant benefits against which the proven significant risks can be weighed.’

July 2nd was chosen to send the letter because it is the 59th anniversary of the death of Ernest Hemingway, the most famous of the millions of casualties of ECT since its invention in 1938. Hemingway killed himself shortly after 20 ECTs, having written, ‘What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my business? It was a brilliant cure, but we lost the patient.'”

Press release (PDF) →


  1. The study would have to be a double blind study because shrinks have blind faith in their ‘treatments’ and will see benefits that are not real. If the shrink is in the room where the ECT is taking place he will know right away if the patient is convulsing so the evaluator taking g part in the study would have to be barred from the treatment room. Also–the patients with prior ECT e experience will know whether they had real or placebo treatment from the headache.

    Report comment

  2. Hemmingway. If that is the only way out, it is preferred over anyone making 300 bucks an hour to fuck with people. They made it look like “suicide”. It is never “suicide”, as a solitary act.
    Of course there are no “treatments” in psych, because there are no “illnesses”

    As a scientist, Einstein did try to get signatures regarding the brutality of wars. He got 4. That is how psychiatry is. Just a boys club, a dry and boring club. Very few Einsteins in there.

    (“While his friend, Fritz Haber, was a signatory of the Fulda Manifesto [aka Manifesto of the Ninety-Three, a 4 October 1914, proclamation endorsed by 93 prominent German scientists, scholars, and artists, declaring their unequivocal support of German military actions in the early period of World War I], Einstein (now a German citizen again) signed a counter-manifesto—one of only four signatories—that called for an end to the war and the creation of a united Europe.”)

    Report comment