A discussion on the permissibility of E.C.T. has recently been started in the Netherlands.
The author favours abolition. A short history of the development of this method of treatment is given in the introduction. Some arguments against and in favour of E.C.T. are mentioned.
A consequence of abolition could be an increased number of suicides. If these suicides would incidentally be regarded as the 'right solution' such an increase would lead to the obligation of 'euthanasia'. If however suicides would be regarded as unacceptable under all circumstances, such an increase would give rise to more 'repression'. In the psychiatric hospital 'Vogelenzang' E.C.T. was gradually abolished since 1969 (last treatment 1973). A short examination did not indicate an increased number of suicides. (This examination had no statistical validity at all and can only be regarded as an attempt to keep everybody on the alert!).
The author stresses the need for more specific research in connection with partial or total abolishment of E.C.T.