Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the "New Psychiatry" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1991).
Leonard Roy Frank (editor), The History of Shock Treatment (self-published, San Francisco, 1978). Available directly from the author for $12 postpaid: 2300 Webster St., San Francisco, California 94115.
John Friedberg, M.D., "Electroshock Therapy: Let's Stop Blasting the Brain", Psychology Today magazine, August 1975, p. 18.
John Friedberg, M.D., Shock Treatment Is Not Good For Your Brain: A Neurologist Challenges the Psychiatric Myth (Glide Publications, San Francisco, 1976).
John Friedberg, M.D., "Shock Treatment, Brain Damage, and Memory Loss: A Neurological Perspective", American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 134, No. 9 (September 1977), p. 1010.
Berton Rouche, "Annals of Medicine - As Empty as Eve", New Yorker magazine, September 9, 1974, p. 84. This biographical article describes in horrifying detail the extent and permanence of memory loss caused by electroshock "therapy".
THE AUTHOR, Lawrence Stevens, is a lawyer whose practice has included representing psychiatric "patients". His pamphlets are not copyrighted. You are invited to make copies for distribution to those who you think will benefit.
DOWNLOAD AS PAMPHLET - Click on this link to download a pamphlet version of "Psychiatry's Electroconvulsive Shock Treatment: A Crime Against Humanity"; requires 8½ by 14 inch paper, Corel WordPerfect for Microsoft Windows 95/98, and printer capable of Hewlett-Packard Laserjet (PCL 5) emulation. Printer capable of duplexing (i.e., double-sided printing) is recommended. See printing instructions. Most Kinko's Copies shops in the USA and Canada have the needed hardware and software, often including a duplexing printer, to download and print pamphlets from this web site.
If you are inside the USA and would like a copy of this article in pamphlet form mailed to you, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope and $1 to Antipsychiatry Coalition, P.O. Box 1253, Topeka, Kansas 66601-1253. If you are outside the USA, see How to Contact the Antipsychiatry Coalition.
1997 UPDATE by www.antipsychiatry.org web-master Douglas A. Smith:
In the 1997 edition of his book The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs, Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry Jack M. Gorman, M.D., includes a section titled "Electroconvulsive Therapy" in which he makes glaring misstatements of fact about ECT, including this: "The patient must first agree to undergo ECT, and many hospitals now require the consent of both the patient and at least one family member. So there is no strapping of people by force onto stretchers" (p. 116). During my own experience as a prisoner of psychiatry with my own eyes I witnessed a fellow "patient" being forcibly dragged off for electroconvulsive "therapy" as she pleaded with her tormentors to stop. As they carried her away and tried to force her into the room where she was to be given ECT, she locked her arms with one hand on each side of the doorway in a futile effort to resist. After considerable effort, they overcame her physical resistance and carried her feet first into the "treatment" room. It was obviously a living nightmare for her, as it would be for anybody. Her verbal and physical resistance and the force being used against her by several large men left no doubt about the involuntary nature of the so-called treatment. I felt several emotions as I witnessed this inhumane spectacle: fear I would be the next victim of involuntarily administered electric shock treatment; anger at those who would be so cruel and stupid as to do this to a another person, and guilt about doing nothing to help this unfortunate woman fight off those who were harming her - even though I knew such resistance would be futile and might make me more likely to become an electroshock victim and almost certainly would have resulted in me being forcibly drugged into oblivion with Thorazine. This was many years ago, but I continue to hear reports of involuntary use of ECT; and even at the time I witnessed this woman's ECT nightmare I heard denials by staff members of that very hospital who claimed ECT was administered only with the patient's consent. Then and now, false denials like this make it obvious nothing said by psychiatrists and associated mental health "professionals" who use harmful "treatments" such as ECT can be trusted.
The same is true regarding the brain damage inflicted with ECT. In the 1997 edition of this book, Dr. Gorman denies there is any evidence of ECT-caused brain damage. He says: "Careful neuropsychologic testing in a number of studies has failed to show any long-lasting memory problems in most patients who have received ECT. Sometimes, memory problems can last longer, although six months is generally the upper limit. What about those who insist they have 'permanent brain damage' from ECT? Once again, it must be stated that careful scientific studies have never [emphasis added] been able to find any [emphasis added] evidence of permanent memory loss resulting from ECT. ... The risk of permanent memory defect from ECT seems so remote that individual patients should probably disregard it" (pp. 117-118). Dr. Gorman limits his denials to "memory loss" and doesn't directly address reduced intelligence and reduced ability to experience emotions as a result of ECT, but his words are nevertheless falsely reassuring about these effects and about ECT caused brain damage. If you have read Mr. Stevens' article about ECT (above), you probably won't be fooled by Dr. Gorman's or other psychiatrists' denials about the brain damage caused by electric shock treatment.
Dr. Gorman also says: "ECT is a treatment of great effectiveness and very small risk. Why, then, is it so controversial? First, the treatment is admittedly mysterious. One of my colleagues, Dr. Stuart Yudofsky, once likened it to kicking the television set when the picture is fuzzy. We still haven't the slightest clue why it works. All that is known is that causing a convulsion in the brain relieves depression. Interestingly, ECT also relieves mania [extreme happiness] and reduces psychotic symptoms..." (p. 119). Why is it so hard for Dr. Gorman and other psychiatrists to see the obvious?: By causing brain damage, ECT reduces or eliminates everything the brain does: unhappiness ("depression"), happiness ("mania"), irrational or strange thinking ("psychosis"), memory, intelligence, the entire range of functions of which an undamaged brain is capable. (Yes, in my opinion, irrational or strange thinking can come from an undamaged human brain. The religious thinking of many "normal" people is an illustration of this.)
Dr. Gorman's 1997 revision of his book The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs shows psychiatry's false claims about ECT (and other aspects of psychiatry) haven't changed.
"Although ECT is effective, it causes pronounced memory problems and its [antidepressant] effects are transitory. Although the process of ECT is no longer as barbaric as the image of Jack Nicholson being shocked in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, it is dehumanizing. I do not recommend ECT unless it's a life-threatening emergency..." Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in his book The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2000), page 87. Dr. Drummond graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and was trained in psychiatry at Harvard University.
Involuntarily ECT continues in the year 2000: In a Support Coalition "Dendrite" e-mailing dated August 23, 2000, it was reported that Kathleen Garrett, a 66 year old woman at DesPeres Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri was given electric shock treatments against her will on Monday, August 21 and Wednesday, August 23, 2000 and that she was scheduled for 10 to 12 more. Both she and her son, Steve Vance, who is a social worker, opposed this harmful treatment. Her son brought an attorney to a court hearing trying to stop it, but a judge ordered it anyway. Her son said: "When are they going to stop? When they've totally fried her mind?" Then, only a day later, in another Support Coalition e-mailing dated August 24, 2000, it was reported that in response to protests by the public, the hospital had announced it would give Ms. Garrett no more electric shock treatments and would instead discharge her from the hospital. This is especially good news for Ms. Garrett and her son, and it is a victory for us in our fight against psychiatric oppression, psychiatric assault, and violation of human rights in the name of mental health. This victory shows that our efforts to stop psychiatry's health care quackery like electroconvulsive "therapy" (ECT) and its violations of human rights can succeed. It should encourage us to continue our efforts. The American public's failure to oppose psychiatry's harmful treatments and human rights violations is not caused by evil intent but ignorance and - sometimes - stupidity. People understand enough about electricity to realize how evil it was to damage this woman's brain with electroconvulsive "therapy" (ECT), especially against her will. Most do not know how commonplace unjustified civil commitment for supposed mental illness is, and most do not know enough about psychiatric drugs to understand how evil it is to force psychiatric drugs on anyone, including supposedly mentally ill people. If we can make a large enough segment of the public understand what is really happening, we will defeat those promoting arbitrary imprisonment called "involuntary psychiatric hospitalization" and psychiatry's harmful so-called therapies and make America - and the World - a safer place for everyone.
For the full text of the August 24, 2000 "Dendrite" emailing, see the Support Coalition website.
"The mechanism by which ECT produces it effects is not known."
Maurice Victor, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Neurology, Dartmouth Medical School; and Allan H. Ropper, M.D., Professor and Chairman of Neurology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology - Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division, New York, 2001, p. 1620. On the same page that these textbook authors make this admission, they also repeat psychiatric myths about ECT, e.g., they say it is "effective" and "safe," and that "The major drawback of ECT is the production of a transient impairment of recent memory for the period of treatment and the days that follow." They do not admit that ECT inflicts permanent brain damage - the result of which may include permanent memory loss for a period of many years prior ECT and permanent loss of intelligence, such as reduced ability to form new memories and loss of reasoning or thinking ability that persists for the rest of an ECT victim's lifetime. They do not admit it has ever been reported that an ECT victim was so brain-damaged by ECT he could not remember his own name. Thus the miseducation of medical students and physicians continues.
Texas legislators were not convinced by psychiatrists'
false denials of permanent memory loss caused by ECT nor their claim,
like Dr. Gorman's (above), that "ECT is a treatment of great effectiveness
and very small risk." This is indicated by their enactment of
the below statute in 1993 (revised in 1997):
Sec. 578.003. Consent to [Electroconvulsive] Therapy.
(a) The board by rule shall adopt a standard written consent form to be used when electroconvulsive therapy is considered. The board by rule shall also prescribe the information that must be contained in the written supplement required under Subsection(c). In addition to the information required under this section,the form must include the information required by the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel for electroconvulsive therapy. In developing the form, the board shall consider recommendations of the panel. Use of the consent form prescribed by the board in the manner prescribed by this section creates a rebuttable presumption that the disclosure requirements of Sections 6.05 and 6.06, Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act of Texas (Article 4590i, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), have been met.
(b) The written consent form must clearly and explicitly state:
(1) the nature and purpose of the procedure;
(2) the nature, degree, duration, and probability of the side effects and significant risks of the treatment commonly known by the medical profession, especially noting the possible degree and duration of memory loss, the possibility of permanent irrevocable memory loss, and the possibility of death;
(3) that there is a division of opinion as to the efficacy of the procedure; and
(4) the probable degree and duration of improvement or remission expected with or without the procedure.
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