Thyroid UK
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Electroconvulsive therapy mostly used on women and older people, says study

The thought of ECT has always horrified me. I would be scared beyond belief. (Having had a few mains voltage shocks in my life was bad enough.) So my opinion is anything but unbiased.

The idea that someone might have ECT when it is really a thyroid issue makes it even less justified than ever.

Electroconvulsive therapy mostly used on women and older people, says study

Findings are a cause for concern and symptom of the ‘over-medicalising of human distress’, says co-author of report using NHS data

The use of electroconvulsive therapy to treat serious mental health problems is more prevalent in women and older individuals, researchers have found.

The study, which looked at data from a group of NHS trusts in England between 2011 and 2015, found that, on average, two thirds of recipients of ECT were women, and 56% were people aged over 60.

The results chime with findings from the annual dataset release by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which reveals that for 2016-17, 67% of patients receiving acute courses of ECT were female, as were 74% of those receiving ECT to prevent relapses – so-called “maintenance ECT”.

Rest of article and, so far, well over two hundred comments, here:

theguardian.com/society/201...

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Going back over 40 years, when I had all the symptoms of Hypothyroidism and no diagnosis and a doctor who took 2 years to even think about testing for Hypothyroidism, it was suggested I had ECT. Horrified me too, I refused.

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Good for you Susie. That's incredible!

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It was my mother who first suggested it might be under active thyroid, but it was my husband telling the doctor "Do something with her 'cos I've had enough" that prompted the doctor to test thyroid.

He'd given me antidepressants, I took them for 3 or 4 days, realised that wasn't the answer and flushed them down the toilet. GP wasn't best pleased when I told him what I'd done :D

Of course, I wouldn't flush them now, I'd take them back to the pharmacy, but things were different way back then.

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I can't help wondering why doctors seem to be unable to make any kind of diagnosis or even attempting at making one while it is left to the patient or their family to suggest "possibilities"....

It appears antidepressants have always been the GPs favourite "first and last resort".... such ignorance.

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Before the antidepressants I had the classic

"Well you're a young mum with a young child and a baby, you can expect to be tired".

Tired yes, but not to the extent that your hubby drags you out of bed when he goes to work, leaves you lying on the floor and you continue to sleep. Then when he came home I'd be lying on the settee asleep again. How I looked after a baby I'll never know, and I sent my 5 year old out of the house to tag on to other mother's/children to get to school.

It's amazing what gets pushed to the back of your mind!

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I thought this sort of torture belonged only to Victorian times! How shocking...

It is interesting to see only women (of course, mad, bad and in serious need of control!) and older people (vulnerable and probably with no family to stand up for them) are the victims of choice. Who do these psychiatrists think they are? How sadistic... Can't quite believe this is still allowed to happen.

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I had no idea they still used it. I'm shocked that they do. Horrific!

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Same here! I thought it was abandoned as a treatment, years ago! And, I don't care what they say in the comments, it is barbaric.

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Very shocking Helvella thanks for posting - there is no way i’d willingly have my brain fried with mega volts. So much for medicine being rational they are happy to use that with no real idea of what it is actually doing yet they decry NDT a tried and tested replace hormone therapy for hypothyroidism as unsafe and unstable. I know which of the two to give those descriptors to and it is not NDT! They would equally apply to the physicians prescribing and administering ECG - whoops I mean ECT! I think the Greeks believed intelligence resided in the heart not the head 😂🤣😂 - in my book.

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Really - I had assumed this kind of treatment had gone out years ago! Can't particularly see what it would help. I electrocuted myself on a hair dryer once and was awful lol! - very much my own stupid fault - one of those moments you wish you'd thought about what you just did for a couple of seconds longer before acting lol!

Was so surprised - had to have a quick look! Apparently they do it under anesthetic now so all good!!

Well it appears it often used for those with severe mania, dementia and catatonia including those with treatment resistant severe depression. I suppose the obvious question is are the majority of those even in a position to give reasoned consent! Also used on those who are pregnant too!!!

it induces a seizure which can apparently change the chemistry of your brain. Side effects include memory loss/amnesia, confusion, nausea, pain and medical complications with things like blood pressure and heart rate.

Hmmmm - no thanks!

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Barbaric treatment used when medics are too lazy to establish true cause of patients health problems

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So nothing has changed then regarding the laziness and/or ignorance of doctors to find out the root cause of problems....

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I know everyone is different but I do not believe that it made any difference to my depression. 40 yrs ago as a 18 year old I was asked if I agreed to having ECT my mother was present but l was legaly an aldult , I was so depressed and far out of it I would have agreed to them cutting of my leg. I spent 3 peroids of admission to a Phys ward and about the same amout of ECT. It mustn't have done me any good as I can remember being doped up with the medication that I was discharged with which mother looked after. I will say that I knew nothing of it while getting it done a sharp prick in the back of the hand and lights out. I believe it's no longer given to young women. Sometimes I wonder if any of the symptons I have today are after effects of it. Would I take it now? That's a hard question. Maybe if I thought it would help. I do however shudder at the thought of it being given to the eldery instead thyroid treatment. However I believe some people in the system would like us to cheaply and quietly die. When it comes to it the truth and the patient does not matter.

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Indeed culling of the elderly and of those with multiple conditions! Cheap and easy...

Tobie so sorry you had to go through such a barbaric torture!

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Thank you JGBH I was once told that sometimes doctors suspected what was behind the severe depression but would not open that can of worms because they did not have the resourses ie therapists to deal with it .

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I bliddy hate this...back to Mammon again.

Not cheaply and quietly dying for any b*gger; it will be a Sunset Boulevard extravaganza if I still have my wits about me and it had better be some way off or someone will pay 👿

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This is a subject which still makes me shudder. ECT was given to my mother for severe depression when I was a teenager back in the 70s. The doctors preferred to administer this barbaric practice, rather than do something about the cause of the depression, ironically caused by a GP in the first place. I believe it has been banned in other countries.

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I happened across this paper. There is one sentence which is likely to provoke a reaction here:

Our patient's medical history included anaemia, hypothyroidism and a hiatus hernia. She also suffered from recurrent vomiting with constipation which was extensively investigated but no cause was found.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

Anaemia (I assume iron-deficiency - are they totally unable to accurately report which of the many possible anaemias she suffered?) and hiatus hernia can be associated with hypothyroidism - as can constipation. Not sure about vomiting, especially without any further description.

Later they list medications:

Medications tried:

2002: Trifluoperazine, venlafaxine and dothiepin combination

2005: Flupenthixol 10 mg intramuscular weekly, mirtazapine 30 mg

2007: Olanzapine 2.5 mg, reboxetine 4 mg

2006: Mirtazapine and quetiapine

2009: Reboxetine 4 mg and citalopram 30 mg; amisulpride 50 mg nocte

2010: Quetiapine, reboxetine 4 mg, clonazepam 0.5 mg

2013: Citalopram 20 mg once daily and sodium valproate 200 mg two times a day

2014: Sertraline and sodium valproate changed to sertraline, quetiapine 75 mg

Lithium had been trialled early on in the course of her illness, but she became extremely confused and extremely irritable after 1 day on lithium and could not tolerate it

Most here will note that liothyronine is NOT in the list. And that lithium - which is known to affect thyroid hormone levels negatively - made her worse. (Not at all sure which of the other medicines might also have interacted to affect thyroid levels.)

The statement:

When in remission, the patient would choose ECT as a preferred treatment and was in agreement to having maintenance ECT from 2006 until 2014 when it was stopped due to her becoming physically frail.

... only means anything if she had enough understanding to have chosen otherwise, if appropriate. Did anyone ever ask her if she would like to try some liothyronine?

Of course I could be laying on a diagnosis of inadequate treatment of hypothyroidism without enough evidence. But many here cannot help but be suspicious and we need positive proof that thyroid was properly and fully investigated.

BootsOn tobie greygoose SeasideSusie JGBH Saggyuk

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Good lord! With that list of pharmaceuticals, no wonder she was sick! Poor woman. I hate doctors!

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And this:

Adverse reactions to ECT:

2006—Unconscious for 2 h—difficult to rouse

2010—She experienced confusion and complete loss of memory—could not recognise her own son—for 3 days after ECT

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Makes you want to weep.

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Gosh Poor woman. I hate doctors too! Well it could have even been simply coeliacs - mass weight loss was mentioned, with immune dysfunction, vomiting, constipation, anaemia - These are the most typical symptoms and even hietus hernia is associated. Well there was clearly something going on with the stomach and I very much expect thyroid wasn't treated well and I dread to think what all those pills did to her and what her nutritional status was :-(

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Ahah! Spot on helvella.... it makes me think of experiments carried out on women and children (and some men too) in Nazy camps! Clearly not acceptable. Can’t imagine these “doctors “ lost any sleep over their dreadful self-serving actions unfortunately.

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That is so barbaric that poor woman !

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I was offered this in 1992. I was seeing a consultative consultant psychiatrist who offered me admission - No (...are you sure? I say, 'No, you're not coming in, to so many...' ) and ECT ( 'sometimes it helps...but it may diminish your intelligence and ability for imagination...')

That did it for me. I adore being a smart tart and the riotous wealth of my imagination and rich internal life have sometimes made life worth living. I loved him; he listened. Didn't test my thyroid, tho :(

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