The Dallas Morning News (12/14, Swanson) reported that the number of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) “treatments in Texas has increased 67 percent since 2001, according to figures compiled by the state health department.” The procedure “was used 14,176 times in Texas on 2,243 patients between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2013, the last available reporting year.” Physicians who perform ECT “attribute its growing use to its success” at treating patients with major depression. Efficacy of the treatment has been recognized both by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association. Medicare also covers the treatment.
The AP (12/15) reprises the Dallas Morning News piece, reporting that opponents of ECT “say it has always caused, and continues to inflict, brain damage and long-term memory loss.” Three years ago, “the Food and Drug Administration published a survey of medical studies on the treatment, saying the studies generally concluded that it ‘is probably more effective than some anti-depressants.’” In addition, “the FDA says the studies…found that there is no evidence to suggest the treatment causes brain damage.”
— “Texas sees resurgence in use of electroconvulsive therapy,” Doug J. Swanson, Dallas Morning News, December 13, 2014.