No more electroshock
It is women who form the majority of those who undergo ECT. In the latest figures from Scotland, according to the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network 2012 report, 71 per cent of patients undergoing ECT were women. This is explained in the report in the usual way: “The percentage of women to men undergoing ECT (71% to 29%) reflects the relative percentages of patients being treated for depressive illness”. I would query this – I think the difference between the numbers of men and women undergoing ECT might be greater than the difference in the numbers of men and women admitted to hospital for treatment of depression (although I haven’t seen any very recent figures). ECT was invented by men and, even though women form a greater proportion of psychiatrists than they used to, men still dominate as lead authors in the ECT literature. If they are more likely to prescribe ECT then it looks as if something more complicated is going on, rather than it simply being a case of women being in greater need of ECT than men.