Using electroconvulsive therapy for depression remains controversial. Dr Max Pemberton examines the evidence
Depression kills. Suicide in the UK constitutes nearly one per cent of deaths from all causes every year.
It is the single biggest killer of young men after road traffic accidents, and the 2001 Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths found that suicide was the leading cause of maternal mortality in the UK.
Depression also destroys lives insidiously, dismantling them piece by piece until little remains. With around a quarter of us experiencing depression in our lifetimes, and between five and 10 per cent suffering from it at any one time, it represents a significant public health issue.
But depression is treatable. The development of talking and pharmaceutical therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressants has meant that the lives of millions of people have been transformed.
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