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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

ECT Handbook (3rd edn), The

Edited by Jonathan Waite and Andrew Easton

Price: £45.00

Members' discount available

Published: May 2013

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 288

ISBN: 9781908020581

ECT Handbook (3rd edn), The

This presents the latest clinical guidelines on the prescription and practical administration of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). It clarifies the place of ECT in contemporary practice and reviews the evidence for its efficacy. The ECT Handbook is an essential reference manual for all psychiatrists, for anaesthetists and nurses who work in ECT clinics, for everyone professionally involved in caring for patients for whom ECT may be recommended, and for second-opinion appointed doctors working for the Care Quality Commission.  

  • Substantially revised to take account of new research.
  • Covers issues of capacity and consent.
  • New chapters on the mode of action of ECT, cognitive adverse effects, dental effects, other brain stimulation techniques and patient and carer perspectives.
  • New evidence of the benefits and risks of unilateral v. bilateral electrode placement.
  • Reflects changes in mental health and mental capacity legislation since the second edition.

All psychiatrists who prescribe ECT and practitioners who administer it (e.g. psychiatrists, anaesthetists and nurses who work in ECT clinics).

About the editors:
Dr Jonathan Waite – Consultant Psychiatrist, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.
Dr Andrew Easton – Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Newsam Centre, Seacroft Hospital, Leeds.



List of figures, tables and boxes

List of contributors

Preface - by Jonathan Waite and Andrew Easton

Introduction: the role of ECT in contemporary psychiatry


  1. Mechanism of action of ECT
  2. The ECT suite
  3. Anaesthesia for ECT
  4. ECT prescribing and practice
  5. Psychotropic drug treatment during and after ECT
  6. Monitoring a course of ECT
  7. Non-cognitive adverse effects of ECT
  8. Cognitive adverse effects of ECT
  9. Dental issues related to ECT
  10. Training, supervision and professional development: achieving competency
  11. Nursing guidelines for ECT
  12. Inspection of ECT clinics
  13. Other brain stimulation treatments
  14. The use of ECT in the treatment of depression
  15. The use of ECT in the treatment of mania
  16. The use of ECT in the treatment of schizophrenia and catatonia
  17. The use of ECT in neuropsychiatric disorders
  18. The use of ECT in people with intellectual disability
  19. Safe ECT practice in people with a physical illness
  20. ECT for older adults
  21. The use of ECT as continuation or maintenance treatment
  22. Consent, capacity and the law
  23. Patients’ and carers’ perspectives on ECT – a literature review


  1. Out-patient declaration form
  2. ECT competencies for doctors
  3. Example of a job description for an ECT nurse specialist
  4. Example of a job description for an ECT nurse/ECT coordinator
  5. Information for patients and carers
  6. Example of a consent form
  7. Useful contacts                                                                                                           
  8. Example of a certificate of incapacity                                                                



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Highly Commended in the Psychiatry Category of the BMA Medical Book Awards 2014

“It covers all the related topics in sufficient detail but it is also easy to navigate to topics of choice. ...An invaluable book for any professional involved in ECT. It has concisely gathered together all relevant information for anyone working with ECT and is a must read."
 - 2014 BMA Medical Book Awards: Programme and Awards Winners


You may also be interested in the College's training courses on ECT.

"The handbook is generally concise, clearly written and well referenced to current research in the subject so gives an excellent overview of developments in all areas of ECT administration. It is essential reading for all members of an ECT service and an excellent teaching resource."
British Journal of Hospital Medicine