Use of ECT treatment remains steady30 December 2020
This morning, we released our annual review of the administration of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) across approved mental health centres in 2019.
The report provides information on how often ECT is used, the people who receive it, the services providing it, and the quality and safety of the service. It is the tenth annual activity report published on the use of ECT in approved centres.
It showed that there were 395 programmes of ECT in 2019, comprising 3,124 individual treatments, administered to 286 residents. This represents a modest increase when compared to 2018, which saw 365 programmes of ECT, comprising 2,936 individual treatments, administered to 283 residents.
A programme of ECT refers to no more than 12 treatments of ECT prescribed by a consultant psychiatrist, with the total number of treatments administered in a programme of ECT varying from one to 12 treatments.
The report shows that the majority of residents were administered one programme of ECT. In 2019, 15.7% of residents were administered two programmes of ECT, followed by 11.5% being administered three or more programmes. In 2018, 18.6% of residents were administered two programmes of ECT, followed by 7.1% being administered three or more programmes.
Depressive disorders were reported as a diagnosis for 77% of residents who were administered ECT in 2019, with the same diagnosis accounting for 63% in 2018. Refractory (resistance) to medication was the most common single indication for ECT, accounting for 66% of programmes (259) in 2019, and 67% (244) in 2018. Improvement was reported as the outcome in 76% of programmes of ECT (299) in 2019, and 81% in 2018 (294).
“This report shows that the provision of ECT has remained steady during 2019,” said the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly. “I think it is important to recognise that there is a stigma around ECT and that is something which I think needs to be addressed through open discussion and greater understanding. While it is not for everyone, this report shows that ECT works for most people, and it has helped many Irish people see improvements in mental health.”
To read our full statement, click here.
To read the full report, click here.