Skip to content
Freeths - Law firm

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Taking the pressure off making a claim

What is involved?

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a treatment that involves sending an electric current through the brain, causing a brief surge of electrical activity (also known as a seizure). The aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms of some mental health conditions.

ECT is given under general anaesthetic. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends its use to achieve quick, short-term improvements for:

  • Severe or life-threatening depression
  • Moderate to severe depression where other options such as talking therapies and medication haven’t helped
  • A severe or long lasting episode of mania
  • Catatonia (staying frozen in one position or making very restless movements)

Repeated ECT should only be considered if all other options have been considered and a patient has responded well to previous sessions.

It is very important a patient is given full information about the treatment, including all possible side effects, both short and long term. You should have a full medical examination prior to treatment to ensure it is safe for you, and most importantly you should give your consent to the treatment.

Historically, ECT treatment was often used unethically and without obtaining informed consent. It has also come to light that patients were not made aware of the possible longer term side effects, which include:

  • Memory loss – for some people this is short term but many find it longer lasting or permanent, with some unable to carry out their usual daily activities and their education and/or career affected accordingly
  • Apathy (loss of interest in one’s self, other people, and one’s surroundings)
  • Loss of creativity, drive, and energy
  • Loss of emotional responses
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Difficulty concentrating

At Freeths we are seeing more and more clients coming to us with long lasting effects from ECT treatments and complaints about the lack of information given to them in addition to a lack of consent. We now represent a number of ECT claimants so please contact us if you would like to look into your options. We review each potential claim on an individual basis, establishing what was known about ECT at the time of your exposure to it and then comparing that to what you were told about its benefits and risks.

Freeths have been quoted in the news on this topic, read more here.

Why choose Freeths?

  • Our Clinical Negligence team are highly regarded by Chambers and The Legal 500 guides
  • You can trust our lawyers to be sensitive, empathetic and considerate to you and your family
  • We offer FREE initial telephone advice, a FREE first interview, and advice on funding your claim
  • We offer specialist knowledge to help answer your questions and secure adequate compensation

Some people have suffered permanent cognitive damage and memory loss from being given ECT treatment without being informed of the potential side effects. Some have had to give up careers and lifestyles they loved due to these long term side effects. If you or a family member have had ECT treatment and can relate to any of this then please get in touch and we can establish if you may have a potential claim.

Key contacts

Jane Williams

Jane Williams
Partner, Head of Medical Negligence, East Midlands & North East

0345 272 5724

Phillip McGough

Phillip McGough
Clinical Negligence Executive

0345 050 3290

Alternatively complete the form below:

Contact Us

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

Choose an office:

Portfolio close
People CV Email

Remove All

Click here to email this list of people to a colleague.