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Mental Health

Electro-shock therapy defended by psychiatric group

But health campaigner says its time treatment was banned without a patient’s clear consent.

THE USE OF ELECTO-CONVULSIVE therapy (ECT) in the treatment of mental health patients has been defended by the College of Psychiatry of Ireland.

The college says that the treatment is both medically safe and effective.

ECT is used to treat severe depression, among other illnesses.

Of the 400 or so patients who receive the treatment every year in Ireland, about 50 have not given their consent, according to RTÉ.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Six One News this evening, mental health campaigner John McCarthy said he is pushing for the prohibition of ECT without a patient’s consent.

He said that he had given his consent to receive ECT treatment but was not aware of what he was doing. The treatment was prevented at his wife’s intervention.

ECT use is regulated by the Mental Health Commission.

Earlier this year, Coronation Street actress Beverley Callard said she underwent a number of ECT procedures in the treatment of her depression. The actress, who plays Liz McDonald in the soap, said that it damaged her memory but relieved her despair.

Callard said she believed a combination of prescription drugs and the ECT treatment helped her to recover.

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