Electro-Shock Therapy

A Shocking Indifference 

Why is it that the controversial issue of Electro Convulsive Therapy (Electroshock) does not receive more media attention? 

Unfortunately, and possibly due to a subtle, lingering prejudice, mental patients don’t ordinarily command much media or political respect in general.  The stigmatising effect of being labelled ‘mentally ill’ means that their every utterance is tacitly assumed to be suspect or invalid.  Their protests about their experiences and stories of personal abuse are ignored.  Their perspectives are discounted or dismissed out of hand. Coercive measures against them are accepted as probably necessary and ‘in their best interests’.  Basically mental illness is an uncomfortable subject area with an automatic assumption, however erroneous, of incompetence, irrationality and even violence.


No other minority group in the western world is so totally abandoned by the normal societal impulses toward common sense and decency. Perhaps the situation is best stated in the “Foucalt Tribunal Indicts Psychiatry” (http://www.oikos.org/ectcomments2.htm):“Functioning as an arm of the state and with state powers, psychiatry has created a category of subhuman from whom every protection and right is withdrawn.” 

The most hardened of criminals, including murderers and paedophiles, can only be incarcerated against their will when they have been found guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ of a crime by a court of law.  A mental health patient is not deemed to be worthy of the same rights.  No proof has to exist; no prior conduct even has to be demonstrated.  If, ‘in the opinion’ of psychiatrists, a person might ‘possibly’ do ‘something’, then that is sufficient legal basis to incarcerate them.  Mental health patients can be, and are, held against their will and subjected to involuntary ‘treatments’ based upon the arbitrary whim of psychiatrists.  The most controversial of these ‘treatments’ is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), otherwise known as Electroshock. 

Electroshock is a psychiatric procedure whereby between 75 and 470 volts are briefly applied to the brain with the aim of producing a grand mal seizure.  The current that operates normally within a human brain is of the magnitude of millivolts (thousandths of a volt).  It does not take a great deal of imagination to understand the results of passing between 75 and 470 volts through such a delicate mechanism.  Frank Vertosick a
US neurosurgeon equated ECT to “repairing a computer with a chainsaw”.  The trauma to the body is such that patients have to be given muscle relaxants to avoid the risk of the procedure breaking their backs and other bones.

There are at least nine independent organizations of victims of ECT in the English speaking world alone devoted to the dissemination of an anti-ECT message. Their web sites are full of distressing personal testimonials from people whose lives have been ruined by ECT.  Can you imagine a situation whereby ex-patients from conventional medical procedures would form themselves into organizations to protect others from that which they had received themselves?  Can you imagine the scenario whereby people were so horrified by the damage done to themselves that they would set up organizations to try to protect others from the same fate?  In conventional medicine this situation would create a furore such that the treatment would be, at the very least, thoroughly investigated, and almost certainly banned.  The most important and respected tenet of the Hippocratic Oath in conventional medicine is to first do no harm. 

Does the fact that some people are apparently helped by ECT justify the damage to the many who are not?  Maybe that is best answered by Peter Breggins MD, Psychiatrist and Director of the

Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology:“Some patients do feel ‘helped’ by ECT. Often they have been so damaged that they cannot judge their own condition.” 

The contemporary psychiatric justification for ECT is as a preventive measure against suicide in depressed people.  This claim is completely negated by the many authoritative and available studies that show ECT does no such thing.*  It is but one in a long line of claims for ECT that span the decades.  As each has been conclusively disproved so it has been replaced with a new claim.  The ‘treatments’ and the brain damage continue unabated, and still in the twenty-first century few listen to the victims. 

Anyone who does dare to venture a critical thought upon the self designated sacrosanctity of the psychiatric industry is promptly labelled as delusional, or as suffering from a psychosis.  This is not restricted to the legions of physiologically damaged and psychologically traumatised ECT patients.  The opinions and observations of experts from within the psychiatric and neurological field, and even the authors of clinical results which conflict with the official line, are similarly labelled.  It is an intimidating tactic that has served its perpetrators well for many decades.** 

Despite the easy availability of a myriad of professional papers documenting the resultant brain damage from ECT, silence reigns supreme.  Brain damage is not a side effect of ECT… brain damage is the treatment.  It is the cardiovascular complications, epilepsy, memory loss and deaths that are the side effects.  Psychiatry once acknowledged that the ‘therapeutic’ effects of ECT were due to brain damage.  In 1942, psychiatrist Dr. Abraham Myerson said: 

“The reduction of intelligence is an important factor in the curative process… the fact is that some of the very best cures that one gets are in those individuals whom one reduces almost to amentia (feeble-mindedness)…” (translated from the French original)*** 

One of the leading advocates of ECT in the
USA, Max Fink, still openly states that the basis of improvement is “similar to that of craniocerebral trauma” (head injury).

But most psychiatrists are necessarily more image conscious today and attempt to present their treatment in more scientific jargon.  Now ECT is couched in terms such as ‘neurological realignment’.  Indeed. 

A 1977 report in the American Journal of Psychiatry spelled it out unequivocally:“From a neurological point of view ECT is a method of producing amnesia by selectively damaging the temporal lobes and the structures within them..”**** 

Specific statistics on patients who die from ECT were hard to obtain prior to 1993 due to a natural reluctance on the part of psychiatrists to supply them.  In 1993, following massive public pressure, the State of Texas in the
USA enacted a law requiring the mandatory reporting of all deaths within 2 weeks of ECT treatment.  According to the Houston Chronicle, Tuesday, March 7, 1995:  “Eight people died in
Texas within two weeks of receiving electroshock therapy….”   These eight deaths were from 1600 recipients.  This is a death rate of 1 in 200.  The figure at the end of the first 18 months of mandatory reporting in
Texas was 1 in 197 which conformed with and confirmed the percentage obtained with the smaller sample.  This is somewhat at variance with the prior psychiatric claims of a death rate of only 1 in 10,000.

The death of one in 200 patients begs the question… how is it possible for someone to die from a mental disorder?  How can a problem of the mind result in the death of the body?  The shockingly obvious and unavoidable answer is: they don’t, they die from the ‘treatment’… and the indifference of those who should care but who choose to turn their backs. 

It is time to turn around and face the victims of Electroshock and to listen to their stories and to acknowledge the dreadful injustice that has been done them.  Whether classified as mentally ill or not, all individuals are as deserving of the same Human Rights as any other individual.  ECT is, to put it bluntly, a way of shutting up the troublesome mentally ill by inflicting brain damage on them.  And it usually works, but at what cost to the individual, and at what cost to a society that tolerates the practise and the practitioners? 

“Sometimes it has to get very dark before you can see the light”American Indian Proverb 

Philip Barton 11/8/05With a huge acknowledgement to the myriad sources that I used in this article.  They were simply too numerous to mention in their entirety… and to the victims of ECT themselves whose personal stories brought tears to my eyes. 

*        Black, et al ‘Does treatment influence mortality in depressives?’ Ann Clin Psych 1989;1:165-173Babigian, H., et al, ‘Epidemiologic considerations in ECT’ Arch Gen                            Psych 1984;41:246-253 

**      A few amongst the many noted and eminent recipients of such slurs                  are:Thomas Szasz MD – professor emeritus psychiatry, State University                 of New York,
John M. Friedberg, M.D. resident. Department of Neurology, University of

OregonPeter R. Breggin, M.D. Psychiatrist, Director of the

Center for the Study of Psychiatry and PsychologyDr. Peter Sterling, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Neurobiology,                          Department of Anatomy,
School of

University of                         

***    Abraham Myerson, in discussion of Franklin G. Ebaugh, et al., “Fatalities following electric convulsive therapy: a report of 2 cases with autopsy findings,” Trans. Amer. Neurol. Assoc. 68 (June 1942): p. 39, 

****  John M. Friedberg, M.D. American Journal of Psychiatry 134:9,              September 1977. pp: 1010-1013. 


169 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Foucault on July 31, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    This question was asked of the patient thirty minutes after ECT…while limping with a gait almost as if every bone in his body had been shattered, while walking down the corridor of the psychiatric ward towards his room. “Can you describe how you feel right now?”
    Reply. ” Dad…its like you dont know where you’ve been ..and…and…you dont know where you’ve come from…”
    Today, he still have night mares and sees blue flashes “in my eyes dad”…


    • I am 63 intelligent caring genuine. When aged 23 I became deeply bereaved as I lost my father; my first boyfriend died of MS and then my flatmate took an OD I foundher unconsious but her father blamed me–at that time I was consulting a psychotherapist / Psychiatrist who gave me one week therapy for 18 months–he quietly suggested that on my private medical insurrance I could have INTENSE psychotherapy! I went to this private clinic signed a form that stated permission for ‘treatment’ –the next day I was given a dedative –woke up and could not tell where I was or even who I was!!!
      This private clinic gave ECT to thouands like me –one couple committed suicide after their ECT treatment–I ran away and went to the Matron of Sydney Hospital who gave me accommodation–I was a 3rd year nursing student. I have suffered terrible sleep disorders no one seems to understand! I am constantly in the ‘fright and flight’ sympathetic nervous system–it is rare for me to sleep properly. My family laugh about all of this –it is NOT a laughing matter==that DR committed a heinous crime–took my money my simpcity–I am now a psychotherapist and can truly emptahize with trauma

      Ive had years of therapy–the best kind is ‘body -relational model’–it does help!

      I am still traumatised and my life very challenging–PLEASE STOP this barbaric criminal act–created to MAKE MONEY out of vulnerable people



      • The UK government has recently introduced e-petitions online.
        Please sign this ‘Abolish ECT’ e-petition and relegate this barbaric ‘treatment’ to the history pages along with lobotomy. We need 100,000 signatures to get it debated in parliament.
        To sign an e-petition, you must be either:
        • a citizen of the UK
        • a resident in the UK (you normally live in the UK)
        It only takes a minute! Please pass this on.
        Thank you for your help.

        Join our fb group ‘Speak Out Against Psychiatry’

    • Posted by Mark Vaughn on June 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      That is not the case at all. I have had ten ECT treatments and it has helped me more than i could ever explain.


  2. Posted by flowerzzau on August 1, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Head Injury

    Psychosis can result several years after traumatic brain injury (Fujii, 2002). In such cases a police officer may be unaware of the subject’s history. Head injury, or more correctly stated, brain insult can result from multiple causes. These subjects may be suffering as a result of a swelling of the brain. Pressure on the brain can create aggressive behavior (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2006). Even concussions may result in increasing confusion, restlessness or agitation (Hammeke, 2004; Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, 2005). The most common symptoms will be irritability, anger outbursts, and violence.

    The subject may be experiencing a viral encephalitis which can include psychosis, depression, mania, fever, and/or disorientation. The subject’s behavior may look similar to ED. The situation could become fatal to the subject depending on what caused the injury, or brain insult. These types of injuries must be treated by physician.



    for a run down on medical examination of electrical torture….. but of course, the nurses exclude descriptions of the burn marks on ECT victims in the daily notes in the Australian ‘Mental Health’ System….. I am told.


  3. Posted by flowerzzau on August 2, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    I notice my comment has been deleted.
    Please explain?


  4. Posted by flowerzzau on August 2, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    ooops there it is.


  5. The latest research on electro shock was conducted by Harold Sackeim and a team of investigators in which 347 patients received the currently available methods of electro shock, including the supposedly most benign forms and confirmed that electro shock causes permanent brain damage and dysfunction.

    Based on numerous standardized psychological tests six months after the last ECT every form of treatment was found to cause lasting memory and mental dysfunction. ( Tuesday April the 3rd 2007). Is it not logical so that electro shock as a means of healing should indeed be abolished? Who is insane?


  6. hi…I am Evelyn Wang ,come from Taiwan.

    I am an CCHR volunteer!

    nice to read your blog.


  7. Posted by janet geden on September 8, 2009 at 8:18 am



    • Posted by ross mc donald on September 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

      im so sorry to hear this about your mum.look at ect on youtube from the 1930 s,its unbelivable they show what happens to a rabbit,then proceed with humans.i think the comparason of mending a computer with a chainsaw is apt.anyone forcing such a treatment should be viewed as a criminal.im not from a med background wikipedia suggestion that 60 to 70 per cent relapase/duh,how many would relapse with no medical help


  8. Posted by janet geden on September 8, 2009 at 8:20 am



  9. Posted by Nathan Palmer on November 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I was just wondering about the purpose of giving a patient ECT and then surgically implanting metal in their body as well?


  10. I am against the electro convulsive therapy as there are not valid results it and causes distress to patients.


  11. Posted by Jerome Johnson on November 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I had 10 sessions of ECT in July/August, 2010 in Portland, Oregon.
    I am a white male, 60 yrs of age and have advanced HIV.
    ECT saved my life. There was a small amount of confusion following the treatments but that abated by mid September, 2010.
    Note that I had taken five years of piano in elementary school. I have re-started my lessons and in six months have brought myself up to an intermediate level. If you are familiar with the pedagogy of piano, this is quite remarkable.
    My piano teacher is amazed as well as myself.
    Please consider my experience.


    • Posted by Francine on August 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      same here – saved my life


    • Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      It’s very sad to me that you had to go back and learn it again. Over the last few years it has been found that the brain has a `plasticity’ in that when parts of it are damaged it has some capacity to repair itself. It is thought that the brain develops other pathways to compensate and constant practice is required. The degree of recovery is very individual. I was a good tennis player and it took 10 years of constant play in much lower grades and playing `social’ tennis before I began to play anywhere near my pre-ECT level. Unfortunately I am 10 years older, (71), and many parts of my game, (speed mainly), are compromised by that. But I keep playing and loving it. This loss of spatial, orientational ability is common in right brain injury. All this was very depressing because I didn’t know why? Unfortunately other skills did not return. My technical skills for sculpture, building, casting, modelling, welding, (a figurative sculptor, I couldn’t form a human head for many years), have all but gone. Before ECT I wrote 2 novels. I signed the publication contract for the first and an option was taken out on the second The day before my total collapse, (due to a catastrophic suicidal reaction to an SSRI anti-depressant. I was given this for stress. I had a half finished novel at the time and tried for 5 years to finish it, and failed. I was no longer able to organise the long narrative. This is also caused by right and frontal lobe brain damage. Neuropsychological tests recorded this damage. Since I was still able to write short stories and short plays, people relaxed and said, `you’re above the `norm’ so don’t worry.’ That was after 66 ECTs, (April 3, 2000-Jan 11, 2002. After another 20, (July-September), again from an SSRI reaction, I can’t write fiction at all.
      I’m SO GLAD you have been able to get your skills back but I remain very sad that it amazed you and your teacher. Maybe without ECT you could be even further ahead? I note that you wrote this post a few months after your ECT experience. I hope you have remained well, but I think it unlikely. The docs don’t tell you it will, almost always, last no more than six months, with most people suffering the return of depression symptoms within 4 months. As I said, hard work, practice, practice, practice can help, at least for some. There are many alternatives to ECT, that really work and work through what happened to you that made you get depressed in the first place. Imagine how you would feel if those things, whatever they are, are no longer an issue and you could make the rest of your life more joyous.
      I wish you well.


  12. Posted by Jerome Johnson on November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Please leave me a comment–it would be appreciated.


    • Jerome. Unfortunately it has been shown that ECT patients often do not realise their deficits but cognitive tests show they are there. My husband has brain damage (not from ECT) and has a ten minute memory as well as other deficits. He has no idea anything is wrong. ECT on the right side of the brain destroys your insight and creativity. Your IQ goes down. Huge swathes of your past will be deleted. You only know when someone shows you a photo or talks about a past event you attended and you haven’t a clue what they are talking about. The more ECT you have the worse the brain damage.


    • Posted by Kenneth Kitzmiller on October 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Psychiatrists are quite literally criminals. They can and do kidnap, permanently
      injure and kill people with NO due process and No judicial oversight. The
      American Psychiatric Association is a criminal organization. Apart from
      electric shock ‘treatments’ and brain operations, they are on the take from
      pharmaceutical corporations. They are running a racket as sleazy as the Mafia.


      • Posted by Virginia Hetchet on October 31, 2014 at 3:54 pm

        My mother went into a mental house, was given sock treatment as well as insulin shock treatment. By the time all the ECT treatments she was incontinent at 25 years old and spent the rest of her life in mental hospitals. I visited her often, through the years. Her intelligence was reduced from top of her graduation class to a doctor who said her intelligence was of a person who dropped out grade school. She had 5 Kids, but they were brought up by the father. I have visited ZPilgim state hospital Poughkeepsie State hospital and lastly Rochester State hospital
        , I read her full psychiatric records, so many in fact It took me 2 days to read it all. I also worked in psychiatric units. Very little has changed actually the purpose of those hospital is control. Abuse wide spread still. Sadly in NYS there is written a no age limit on ECTs, babies were given electric shock. Why did they have a huge increase in ECTs was when medicare approved and started to pay those doctors. Doctors will in general work harder for the one who pays them. In the US the shocking truth is both medical and psych docs kill more people then all our wars put together each year and many are in the same bed as Big Pharma. Both are so corrupt, and bringing our country down, because of greed. Many say oh my doc is so wonderful, check dollars for Doctors, and see if they are taking bribe money.

  13. Posted by ROBIN VALDEZ on February 4, 2011 at 5:37 am



  14. my brother was snatched and put in emeryvill stat hospital with out ever seeing a dr and started on ect untill my mother found out and got a laywer involve and he was reliesed and later he started having strockes which i belive can be traced back to the ect i think that the damage done was bad enough to cause him trouble the rest of his life and the first strockes damaged a large portion of his brain and i wonder how many others who sufered ect have died from strokes gr have suffered strokes


  15. Posted by Cheryl Prax on September 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

    The UK government has recently introduced e-petitions online.
    Please sign this ‘Abolish ECT’ e-petition and relegate this barbaric ‘treatment’ to the history pages along with lobotomy. We need 100,000 signatures to get it debated in parliament.
    To sign an e-petition, you must be either:
    • a citizen of the UK
    • a resident in the UK (you normally live in the UK)
    It only takes a minute! Please pass this on.
    Thank you for your help.


  16. Posted by robin mccarthy on September 23, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I have just ended a series of 9.I don’t feel depressed anymore,I don’t feel anything.I do feel as if a part of me is missing.I no longer find joy in reading my favorite books.I can’t admit to my daughter that I can’t remember some of the memories we used to share.Its as if part of my very essence has been stolen.I was supposed to have 12 of them,but I have this overwhelming feeling of terror left over from the last 2.I can’t do it.I would rather be considered crazy as aloon than empty and soulless.


  17. Posted by Lisa on November 4, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Robin, I’m so sorry. I pray that God will give you peace and joy and give you new memories with your daughter. Blessings to you.


  18. PBR So you don’t believe anyone who says they have been harmed by this ‘procedure’? As Peter Breggin MD says, medical treatments have been withdrawn in the past if they have caused serious harm to a small percentage of people. He goes on to say that ECT harms a large percentage of people and there is little evidence that any are being helped. Page 250 ‘Brain disabling treatments in Psychiatry’


  19. Posted by jayesh on March 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    dear sir, my wife feel eletrical current shock in body,since last 20 days.
    it was done after 3 to 4 day. on the time of shock if some one came in to contact with her they also feel shock.
    so i want to know what is this?
    give me reply


  20. Posted by Maritza Martinez on April 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I am a survivor of ect treatment.Nobody cares about my battle against that treatment.


  21. Posted by Catherine on May 18, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Hi. My mother was given ECT when in hospital. She had suffered from mental illness for years & drug addiction. What I would like to know is if there is any compensation availble for victims of this barbaric treatment?


  22. Posted by Jeff on August 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I had E.C.T. It is a last resort. Damage is unquestionable like the ability to memorize new material. Degrading, hostile and barbaric. Cannot understand the absence of publicity against it.


  23. Asylum magazine are going to dedicate a whole issue to ECT probably Dec 2012. Please send them your testimonies etc.




  24. Posted by Disgusted on October 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    If a person has suffered a brain injury, they are allowed to act a little weird. Having a brain injury is no reason, in my oppinion, to justify torturing an individual; one,who has survived a head injury and two, has no real control over thier brain; by subjecting that person to yet another brain injury by means of ECT.


  25. Posted by Kate on March 2, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I had ect three and a half years ago, six treatments against my will. I am still in a terrible place. It ruined my marriage, my life, i live in constant terror, I suffer PTSD, agrophobia, social anxiety, lack of confidence and self esteem. The effects of the “treatment” made me suicidal, I struggle to get through every day, I am afraid of the past, the present and the future. My trust in doctors is non existent after this. The people who I thought were helping me actually caused me to be even worse than before. I can’t think straight, have confused thinking, my body is a mess. This practice should be banned. They give the equivalent “brain shock” to pigs/sheep/cows at the abbatoir just before they kill them. It’s like going to the hospital with a broken leg and them hitting it with a baseball bat and saying “there, that will make it better”. Your brain controls all your bodily functions, how can upsetting the balance in there help?


  26. Posted by Patricia L. Weed on March 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I had Shock Treatment in my early 50’s because of PTSD . I am now having symptoms of MS is that possible?


  27. Posted by Daphne Mark on March 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Tissue Electro Convulsive Therapy(ECT) or shock treatment, is an outdated method and has no scientific evidence to justify it’s application to patients with mental illness.
    My scientific and medical opinion is that such therapy causes physical damage to brain architecture and it’s neural cells and actually could be the cause of future neural or brain atrophy because of the invasive physical impact on the brain cells (tissues).
    Note: the term tissue refers parts of an organ which contains the same functioning cells. Every organ has tissue composed of different in morphology and functions cell;
    e.g., the brain tissue is composed of neural cells.
    In conclusion based on the above the application of ECT is invasive to the brain tissue by causing physical trauma to the organ in general and disrupting or permanently eliminating the physiological and biochemical function of the neural cells and thus as a consequence causing cell atrophy (or brain atrophy) at later stages.
    In relation to the letter of the person with a diagnosis of MS this could be attributed to the damage of the neural cell which were no longer able to produce the protein myelin which in turn envelopes the neural cells (in a healthy state) and it is responsible for an effective neural transmission. This enables normal cell communication in the brain and neural functioning in general.

    I do strongly objet to such treatment. It could no be called therapy as it has not therapeutical results.

    Daphne Mark


    • Posted by Deirdre Oliver on April 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      In 2000, after a catastrophic reaction to an SSRI I was started on ECT by a panicking psychiatrist. I was given 66 treatments over a 20 month period. My memory for this time is virtually extinct. However I do remember 4 occasions, (friends remember many more), when I withdrew consent. On all these occasions I was threatened with being `sectioned’ (made an involuntary patient in a public hospital) which terrified me and was often physically manhandled into the ECT room. Pleading, begging got me nowhere.
      Eventually, now labelled bipolar, I was `rescued’ by a psychiatrist from another clinic.
      The long term consequences of ECT were also catastrophic. It took 6 months for me to recover well enough to begin to realise that whole sections of my autobiographical memory were gone.
      1. My children’s growing up, most of their achievements, graduations, sporting triumphs, (they both became elite athletes), have been lost.
      2. My technical abilities as a successful sculptor, (there were many works I didn’t even recognise as mine), various successful sculpture exhibitions, solo and group. Lost.
      3. The proposed publication of my first book, (I would forget to contact the editor). Lost.
      4. The first level of production of a movie series, (I forgot/didn’t recognise my own work or the producer). Lost.
      5. The first level production of a sitcom I wrote, (I didn’t and still don’t, remember that this was optioned by a production company which had held a major workshops including actors. (This means they’re serious). Lost.
      6. I didn’t even recall my professional acting career. (I was in `Neighbours’ in the 90’s.)
      Plus, plus, plus! All still lost. Nearly every time I talk to my family members I find more that I’ve lost. As I tell my about to be ex, current doctor, my life is a poorer place than it should be.

      As if there needs any more to be said, I cannot write anything more than short stories now because I have lost the organisational skills needed to produce a 75,000 word novel. Neuropsychology tests have documented this. But because I won prizes for the short stories my current psychiatrist, who loves my creativity, says I haven’t lost anything! So keen was she that she attempted to wipe that out, too, by persuading me to have a further 20 ECT treatments three years ago. Why did I let her? I don’t know. I’ve written nothing since.

      I cannot `get over’ my rage and misery. Having ECT was, for me, like being raped, violated and demeaned. I feel terrible guilt and self loathing that I couldn’t stop it happening, that I `allowed myself’ to be treated like that. In fact I WAS once raped and the helplessness and horror of that was not as bad as ECT. I guess 86 times is a lot to get over.
      As for the `life saving’ effects of ECT, there is little evidence to support this. In fact in my case, I nearly died four times during it and four times after it. A lot of time on life support. The ongoing anguish of suicidal thinking persists today. In the preceding 58 years of my life there were no suicide attempts.

      Pre ECT I think I fitted the bill as an extremely competent, high performing, popular, well liked woman. Now, after losing an enormous amount of my life to psychiatry, that woman no longer exists. Since the beginning of 2013 I am now about to dump the whole profession. This might seem strange when I tell you I was a very good psychiatric nurse back in the seventies. I believed in the profession. NO MORE!
      I now suffer from a severe post traumatic stress disorder.
      My reason for going on like this are:

      1. I need people to know how devastating ECT is.
      2. I want them to realise that their awful residual distress may include PTSD which requires a specific type of help a bit different from normal depression, though this is a significant feature of PTSD.
      3. I want to warn people that their psychiatrists are lying about ECT and a lot of the drugs as well. (Another post). If they are ignorant about what can happen they should be prosecuted for incompetence.
      4. I want somebody, anybody, to join me in setting up a lobby group to ban ECT here in Australia and world wide.
      5. The lobby group should aim to include those doctors who also have issues with ECT to join in. It is their voices that will do the most good. I actually did a telephone survey a few years ago, and rang 50 psychiatrists asking if they ever prescribed ECT. I included those who said `hardly ever’ as `yes’; the ones who said they did when young but never since as `no’. Out of 48 responses, 23 said no to ECT, 25 said yes. Where are they when we need them?
      We have to remember that `in order for evil to triumph, it just needs the good people to stay silent.’
      After all this, maybe I can write a book?)


      • Please do write a book . People need to know about this , and others who have suffered too, need the support of knowing they are not alone :)

      • Posted by Sheri Robinson on April 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

        I was abused as a child and became an alcoholic at a young age to self medicate. I also was in abusive marriage then abandoned with two children. my x got away with all he did because he had a lawyer who I think was friends with the judge. Anyway I spiraled into a deep depression and tried to end my life twice I was given ects n it ruined my life even more. I have a ton of amnesia and have lost precious moment’s of my children’s lives among just struggling each day just to function…that is not what I would say made my life better it’s like you are a stranger to yourself.

  28. Dear Deirdre
    I am co-editing an edition of Asylum magazine on Electroshock. Could we use your quote? http://www.asylumonline.net/


  29. Posted by Deirdre Oliver on April 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Dear Cheryl,
    Certainly! And do feel free to use my real name. Deirdre Oliver


    • Posted by Deirdre Oliver on May 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      I have just been cleaning out my study and found 3 documents. The 1st was a neuropsychological report from June 2003 about 1 i/2 years after the 66 ECT treatments from 3/4/00 – 11/1/003. A couple of quotes:
      `…well motivated and there were no inconsistencies evident in test performance. Speech and language were generally unremarkable with no word finding difficulties apparent.
      … A moderate disturbance of attentional function was evident, particularly on more complex and demanding mental operations. Speed of information processing was also reduced to expected levels.
      …Estimated to have been of `high average’ to superior’ intellect pre morbidly, [her[ performances on verbal measures were commensurate with this estimate. By contrast, her performance on non-verbal intellectual measures fell well below expected levels….Specifically, she had a reduced capacity
      for novel complex problem solving, planning and organisation.’ (?Right brain function where ECT electrodes are placed to reduce DAMAGE.)
      There was a later 2006 neuropsychological which echoes the 1st. e.g.. `Performances on non-verbal tasks that placed demands on information processing speed, concentration, and complex planning and organisation fell in the Average range, suggesting a decline from premorbid levels.’
      The 3rd document, 23/8/2006, is the report from a CT brain scan.
      `…The ventricles are mildly dilated and this is associated with widening of the cerebral sulci. Both the sylvan fissures and the anterior inter hemispheric fissures are widened. A small focus of decreased density is shown anteriorly in the basal nuclei region on the right (!?) consistent with a small infarct.’ (brain bleed/stroke). There is evidence of CONSIDERABLE FRONTAL ATROPHY. AN OLD INFARCT IS NOTED DEEPLY WITHIN THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE.’ (My caps, ECT was 2000-2002, hence `old’).
      To my knowledge I was never treated for a brain haemorrhage.
      This seems to me to be a fair example of ECT caused brain damage, but still they call a repetetive `organic brain syndrome’, `therapy!’ Also, there is a resurgence in lobotomies! Even in the 1800’s they didn’t do any worse damage.
      Somehow these people have to be stopped. Diagnosis of mental illness in the FETUS and newborn, a list of symptoms to diagnose mental illness in your 2-year-old available on the web! They are running MAD!
      Deirdre Oliver


  30. Posted by Deirdre Oliver on May 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    One of the major problems in attempting to control these medical renegades is that genuinely out-raged people, justifiably, indulge in very emotional diatribes. This gives the profession the chance to say, `well, that’s what we’d expect from a, (literally), lunatic fringe, ha ha, look at them.’ The only way to deal with them is to be calm and totally scientific. The evidence is out there but it needs to have new names, new well designed studies, getting the information into print that the public can respect. Without any hysteria, unproductive insults and, sorry, ratbag name calling, association with the more extreme religious groups. We have to get the doctors to support the effort to control their rogues, instead of head-in-the-sand avoidance of `problems’. We need whistleblowers from the drug and ECT manufacturers. We need to pluck out the well written, sensible material from web sites like this, all of them. These medicos are becoming very powerful and very dangerous. The public has to be outraged as well. The rest of the medical profession has to become outraged as well. They won’t go anywhere near the `ratbag’ element. My ex-quack said she was sick of my `pseudo-science’, she didn’t seem to know that the pseudo-science I was talking about was the studies done by her colleagues. WE HAVE TO GET THIS STUFF UP FRONT SENSIBLY, SCIENTIFICALLY AND REASONABLY.
    I just had a thought! Can we find some young fire breathing ambitious journalism students who want to make their mark?
    Deirdre Oliver


  31. Posted by joshua simpson on November 16, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I looked after a 41 year old woman last year 2012 , she then stayed a while with her brother who said have a REST in hospital ,she was in Yorkshire uk.
    She was a voluntary patient with no prior history of hospitalization . They were going to ECT her after six weeks for saying that she felt that life was not feeling real.
    I helped get her out of there she is safe now . but you can be sure it terrified her . And I am outraged . How dare they do this anymore . it was first used to stun pigs before they cut their throats in the 1940s Lets end this tourture that has life long awful repercussions
    joshua777j aol dot com


  32. Posted by Hanno on December 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I’m a 40 year old male living in South Africa. I was diagnosed with “vanilla” depression at the age of 21. It was always controlled with SSRI’s. I went through drug addiction but recovered successfully, but who knows what damage it could have caused. I have been HIV positive for 13 years now. About 4 years ago I became seriously ill with depression and anxiety. Not the normal “run of the mill” type. I felt so sick/ill from it that I didn’t want to live. I was admitted into a mental hospital where they at first did nothing for me and then tried CBT. It didn’t help at all. I came to live at a mental facility for people who have been “stabilized”. I was far from it and only my religious beliefs kept me from suicide. I started following up at a different mental hospital where they focused more on medication. They tried every drug possible and I was on 4 different anti-depressants at one stage. Nothing helped. I lost all hope and felt SO BAD.
    They then tried the standard 6 sessions of ECT on me. It worked, but only for 6 weeks or so and then I relapsed. We tried it again, with the same effect. I then got onto private medical insurance and started seeing a psychiatrist who suggested maintenance ECT – once every 6 weeks or so. It changed my life! I am on half the psychiatric meds I used to take, I sleep well again, I am positive, I want to live and hope my life will change for the better. I can work again!!! I want to put this nightmare of 4 years behind me and move on. Its however obviously easier said than done, but I will get there. My insurance has to pay for my ECT sessions under SA law (thank heavens) and at the moment we are still a bit too scared to see what will happen if we totally stop the treatments, so we are going to move them further and further apart. I have cancer now and TB, but am fighting it with all I have and I am not going to lay down. How many people can come from 4 years of wanting to die, then get cancer and TB and suffer from HIV and still have a positive outlook on life? I do and I’m proud of it.

    And for those who say it causes damage, memory loss and a lowering of IQ, it might be true in some cases but not in my case. And I can go on and on as to why it is not the case for me, but I don’t feel I need to “prove” it. And no, I also monitor myself very closely on various levels so its not a case of where it is happening to me, but I am just not aware of it. I find that a very patronizing thing to say.

    So whereas I unfortunately I am not one of the people who are going to go along with what most people are doing here, which is to try and discredit ECT into the ground, I will be the first to admit that, as with every medical treatment out there, there are those who benefit from it and those who might have bad experiences. But I stand STRONGLY for the fact that ECT saved my life! And it did more than just help me, it totally changed things for me to a point where I feel “normal” today, completely free of depression. And to have done so from the terrible depths where I was, where NOTHING helped for years, is nothing short of a miracle. I am eternally grateful to ECT and my psychiatrist.


    • NB My husband has extensive brain damage of which he is totally unaware so it is possible to not be aware of the damage which has been done to your brain. The only way to know is by full cognitive testing which will show where the damage is. You will be surprised. If I deleted some of your old emails you would not be aware they were missing until you looked for them. However with ECT you would not even think to look for them as you would not know they ever existed.


  33. Reducing the ‘anti-depressants’ has probably helped a lot. These make people worse in the long run. Unfortunately maintenance ECT will cause a gradual cognitve decline of which you will be unaware. It causes permanent brain damage full stop – the more you have the more brain damage you get. You prefer to have temporary relief in return for brain damage. Many people do not have this choice. They are forced to have it or if consenting they will not have been told the truth of the brain damage and memory loss.


  34. Posted by DeirdreOliver on December 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I posted a piece on 26/12/13 – But it’s not here – is there a reason, e.i. too long, repetitive, or did I just mess up the posting procedure


  35. Posted by DeirdreOliver on December 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I have been going through my file from 2010 when I consented to ECT. Although I have a huge residue of PTSD following the first 66, (2000-2002), and, not so subtle brain damage, confirmed by 2 lots of neuropsych tests, 2003 and 2006, my now ex-doctor got me into another 20!
    The story is one of total betrayal. I have found memory issues I didn’t know I had about that time, but the hospital notes paint a picture. The nursing staff, having had to deal with my dread of even being around ECT for 7 years, recorded that I was terribly distressed with each one. On at least 5 occasions I told them that I was making ropes to hang myself, a couple of times I told them I would eat something before the treatment and die during the anaesthetic. The doctor has not recorded any of this. One time, apparently, I was transferred to the locked ICU for several hours because I was acutely suicidal. There are no comments from the doctor about this, she just continues to say it was my choice. She was so assiduous in constantly claiming I was `leading the push for ECT’ that it makes me sure that she knew I was suffering dreadfully and lied to cover herself if it turned really bad. How did nobody hear my calls for help?
    She very occasionally made remarks that I was very `theatrical’ in my distress, that I felt humiliated, that it had never done any good, that I wanted to go home etc. But, after LONG TALKS each time, WE agreed that I continue to the end. And we did.
    It has taken 3 years for all this to come to a head for me. I will never speak to a psychiatrist again, except in court; my sisters have `enduring power of attorney’; I cannot go to any hospital or doctor of any kind that might have any record of my psych history; if I need medical attention I will only go to those big impersonal med centres and I will not disclose any part of my life that could lead to them finding out that I was ever taking psychotropic drugs. I’m weaning myself off the last drug right now. A week ago I went my past GP, with a sudden onset, (I’m 71), mild semi paralysis of my foot, called foot drop. This can be caused by something wrong in the brain or can be purely mechanical from a damaged spinal disk. While I was there I asked her to sign the ongoing referral to my psychologist. (Govt regs).
    Her interest in my mental condition however, took up the entire consult. I mentioned the foot problem but she did not even check the basics. I went straight to another practice. I had an `urgent’ brain scan and later a lumbar spine scan. The doctor told me if it got any worse to go to a hospital immediately. (NO). Fortunately both of these were OK though I do have to see a neurologist. If they hadn’t been, if there were signs of a slow bleed in my brain or a tumour, I could have died because of a psychiatric label!
    Back to ECT. From my file I have found that the records of the actual ECT indicated bilateral ECT. There were no records of any EEG status, the doctor’s names, if there at all, were illegible. The doctor’s notes were frequently illegible also, and there was at least one nurse whose copious notes were always totally illegible.
    I think I may have agreed to `ultra brief’ ECT, (it took 3 days and a lot of manipulation by the doctor), because I believed that the `ultra brief’ ECT was one single very short shock. The nurses record having lengthy `chats’ reassuring me that the `new’ ones were much better. Since then I’ve found out that it is a pulse, firing 140 `ultra brief’ PULSES a second for up to 5.3 or more, seconds. This means it can be over 700 ultra brief pulses in one treatment. Oh, and the `small electrical current’? Up to 450 volts. Small? Needless to say there was no info about the awful loss of memory and non-memory damage that I have to live with every day of my life. My past was devastated, my future killed stone dead.
    THERE IS NO WAY IN THE WIDE WORLD I WOULD HAVE CONSENTED TO THAT. And yet another little issue. The notes reveal that my doctor had consulted with her superior, a known zealot of ECT whom I hate, stating that he said I should have 20 ECTs. The reason for this was the `length of my illness’ and the resultant `hippocampal shrinkage’ I most surely had as a consequence. I was never told THAT. She wrote that he emphasised that I MUST complete the 20 because `everyone knows that bipolar depression takes MUCH LONGER to recover’. I never spoke to this man before or since, but he may have heard of me as an implacable enemy of ECT. Even in the admission notes by the doctor she wrote, `has had a lot of ECT in the past and has an antipathy to it – watch on ECT days’. She knew. Earlier in the admission the nurses record that I had a bad reaction when someone started talking about ECT. This was before it ever come up as an option. An option that the nurses were urged to encourage. Even a `filling in doctor’ reported my `difficulties’ with ECT.
    WHAT DID SHE THINK SHE WAS DOING? For 7 years I told her ECT was like rape. You don’t treat rape with rape.
    I think it’s time to expose these barbarians.
    UN-informed consent, the unnecessary use of a treatment known to cause immense psychological problems for me, recommendations followed from someone who never saw or spoke to me, excessive use long after serious emotional distress to the point of having to be locked up to protect me from suicide, was being recorded.
    For 7 years I told this woman over and over and over, that my problems dated from the earlier excessive use of ECT in 2000, not from my earlier life. I was not sick the first time either and the admission in 2010, though I was a bit flat, was for a trial with an antidepressant, Lexapro. I crashed approximately three and a half weeks into the trial. There was also suspicion that the first disaster was also caused by a catastrophic reaction to an SSRI. After that, I lost my technical ability for sculpture, including recognising my own work, I tried so hard to finish my third novel but couldn’t organise long narratives. The neuropsych tests showed that, but I could still write short stories and plays. Since 2010 that’s gone too. And worst of all, I’ve lost most of my memory of my children growing up.
    I left the place dreadfully traumatised and damaged with a mood score the same as I went in. Why didn’t I ask for the `withdrawal of consent’ form. I can only say it could have been because it WAS like rape. You know you can’t fight back so you just hope it will be over soon.
    I believe that the clinic and the staff involved failed me in their duty of care. I also believe that I’m not the only one.
    I will never forgive them as long as I live and I will do my very best to bring them down.
    Deirdre Oliver


  36. Thank you for posting this. A hell of a story. I am at a loss of what to say. I am so sorry that people are given this evil power over others.


  37. Deirdre, just noticed your comments in April to use your quote for Asylum magazine. Luckily that issue was delayed so hopefully your quote can go in when it is compiled.


  38. Posted by DeirdreOliver on December 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you so much Cheryl. It’s nice to know there are people like you who actually believe us. I can’t talk about the plans I have for the future with this, but I hope that some people aren’t going to like it.


  39. Posted by DeirdreOliver on December 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Oh, and I wanted to ask if you got the story, `Karen’? I’ve sent it to Phil in a couple of ways, like `pdf attached’, and `pdf just as an email’. Further, I have some GOOD NEWS. Due to a response I wrote to a cocky young wannabe journalist, to whom I said basically “do your homework son, then join the grownups”, (it was about ECT and surprisingly I got no reply), a woman in Queensland emailed me about a problem her 20 year old daughter was having as an involuntary patient (ITO) as her doctor wanted to give her ECT. Because I can find my way some of the Mental Health Act I went up there to see if I could help. A lot happened, the girl is out of hospital, has a new, non-bully doctor (though still on a Community Order), NO ECT(!), and expected to come off the CTO 7/1/14. When I met her she was like a deer in the headlights. She’d had a forced naked body inspection, didn’t shower at the hospital, (!), couldn’t talk to the staff, (I met them, bullies, I wouldn’t have talked to them either), and wasn’t eating when she was there, but was at home. (I saw the food too!) The parent’s stories were ignored to the point where her mother made some videos to prove her point. Her daughter was described as `catatonic’ (In all my years working at a huge old mental hospital, I and nobody else I knew ever saw `catatonia’; which isn’t a `disorder’ in its own right anyway). This sheltered (a very religious catholic and patriarchal family), 20 year old university student was also called schizophrenic, because of her very understandable withdrawal and was slowed almost to a stand still by drugs. These 3 things, `mute’, not eating or showering (!?) and barely moving were the reasons put forward for ECT, and staying on an ITO. When I pointed out to the doctor that I thought her retarded movement looked more like psychomotor retardation to me, he got very aggressive and shouted me down. I gave him some literature on ECT and found he’d said I was a Scientologist and poo-pooed the literature as coming from psychologists who are not doctors! I enjoyed that thoroughly.
    The problems this girl has are about growing up. The end of a sheltered childhood and the transition to adulthood with all the scary issues that entails. Psychological issues, and very common ones at that. Huge doses of antipsychotics aren’t going to fix anything. Given time and supportive, knowledgeable and caring counselling this girl, her diagnosis of schizophrenia not withstanding, can get well and stay well. I’m sending her some literature, a book by Jay Haley called `Leaving Home’ among other suggestions. I hope she can get and stay clear of psychiatry in the future. Did you know that people with schizophrenia in India and other 3rd world countries almost all go on to lead normal, or at least `normalish’ lives unless they receive psychiatric treatment. I used to see that back in the old days, too.
    Another beauty was in my notes (ECT 2010) when a nurse wrote

    “2035hrs – Nursing (1)…reported this as a “very bad day”. Spoke of connecting her feelings about ECT with the powerlessness she felt as a child in the sexual molestation episode as an early teen and as an adult by her boss. Encouraged to consider that ECT may have allowed her to make the emotional connection and also to allow herself to feel the feelings she has kept the lid on. With compassion and non judgmental attitude I encouraged to express them her writing. She had a few tears and moved off her suicidal ideation (per taking O/D).!!!!

    My comments: Well I’m so glad you feel good about yourself, dropping this little psychotherapy gem. ECT as a psychotherapy enabler? My God! This is one of the worst bits of psycho-jargon drivel I have ever heard of.
    “Compassion and a non-judgmental attitude?” What am I supposed to be judging unfairly? ECT? There never was a “lid on” these things. ECT is more likely to destroy any chance of ever working on those issues. Particularly when you may know, and [the doctor] does, of the results of 2 neuropsychology reports of mine that clearly show a reduction in the very cognitive abilities needed FOR psychotherapy!
    Could it be that It is the absolute powerlessness and helplessness, that someone is doing something dreadful to you and you can’t get away that might be the problem? Add a bit of humiliation and it’s all good! ECT as a psychotherapeutic tool? It’s a bit hard to engage in that kind of claptrap when you’ve just had 450 volts of electricity fired through your head.
    You know, get the 30% drop in your IQ, for a start. Then there’s all the other cognitive skills that disappear along with your memory of your LIFE. Yeah, if it solves people’s problems so well, why don’t you have it, just to clear out the `nest’ as it were. I’m sorry I didn’t see this little gem coming because if I had I would have bolted and saved my brain a few 450 volt jolts!


    • Deirdre, I have emailed Phil to check whether he got your story, ‘Karen’. Like most people I had no idea what was happening in the ‘Mental Health’ system until a rude awakening in 2009. That caused me to read extensively and speak to survivors. I was even more horrified and determined to make a difference in a small way.

      Are you going to the INTAR conference in Liverpool UK in June next year? http://intar.org/2013/09/intar-conference-liverpool-2014-call-for-contributions-3/ If you want to contribute to the conference the deadline is 31st December. I have offered to tell my story in a seminar.


      • Posted by deeeo42d on December 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        I wish, but it’s a long way from Australia. I’ll be there in spirit. Yeah, the only part of medicine, a `helping’ profession, that they lock you up to `help’ you, whether you like it or not. Of course they are `helping’ you to behave as they want, like them. I recall a young uni student who very nearly died because a psychiatrist decided to `help’ her by returning her to infancy, via barbiturates for 6 weeks, in order to wipe out her `faulty’ personality, (she had several psychotic episodes, probably from smoking dope, but always got better), and rebuild it from scratch. In whose image I asked? He is now a much revered elder statesman of the profession. He is actually one of several psychiatrists I worked with who are still practicing and are basically psychopaths.  This is something I wrote to the Health Minister of Western Australia re a re-vcamp of the Mental Health Act there, (each state has their own brand, mostly bad). A letter was written by the president of the WA psych association, which chilled me to the bone. I’ll send it to you if you like. Anyway this was part of my response: `When I read something like this I despair. I keep returning to the Nazi Germany psychiatrists. This is how it’s done.  First, withdraw social status, (“mentally ill” therefore “dangerous and mad”); second, isolate, (“get rid of the parents and all legal restraints”); third, “educate” the public by claiming you are doing them a service by removing and/or repairing these “faulty” people from general society; fourth, call what you are doing science for the betterment, (purity) of all; fifth, tell the biggest lies often enough and people will believe them, (Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany 1938 approx.). You then have complete power over a demeaned sub-group and can allow the escalation of atrocities under the name of “science”..That government supported psychiatrists to perform atrocities that defy belief. Do you want to be known as a major player when you allow ours to do the same?’  Deirdre Oliver PS:  All our states are re-doing the MHAs. They want to allow children of 14 to consent to ECT without parental consent and 16 year olds to be competent to consent to Psychosurgery as well, also without parental consent. In Australia 14 year olds are not competent to consent to SEX, neither can vote or drive a car. It’s frightening particularly that the `College’ is upset because they don’t want to deprive 13 and unders the benefits of ECT! Good Luck

    • Deirdre, your testimony has made it into the ECT edition of Asylum but I can’t find your email address to give to the magazine so they can arrange a complimentary copy for you. I think the article ‘Karen’ is not going to be included. NB the magazine is still being compiled at the printers. email speakoutagainstpsychiatry@gmail.com. Thanks. Cheryl Prax


  40. Posted by sharon racklyeft on February 3, 2014 at 1:37 am

    In us legal redress can be taken,inpossable in uk


  41. Posted by DeirdreOliver on February 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    This info is quite old. I have written to this site before. Currently I am researching a wide range of issues re ECT. I am trying to find people who are actually involved in setting up enquiries to see what we can do, practically, to confront the `industry’, for that is what it is. Here in Australia, with our very accommodating public health system pays a significant proportion of the cost of ECT, and with our relatively wealthy and insured population, we have the highest per capita use of ECT, 35% of which it is involuntarily. I was a psychiatric nurse in the 1970s and worked in a public psychiatric hospital. We rarely used ECT, though it had been used as a punishment for the old back ward guys if they got stroppy. We figured ECT wasn’t particularly helpful and caused brain damage.
    As far as I was aware there weren’t any private psychiatric hospitals then. We used to fantasise that we should start one in order for us to help people better than the big old hospitals. ECT was never going to be a part of that. How naive we were.
    ECT began to be reborn with the appearance of the private psychiatric clinics/hospitals in the 1980s. It was quick, you didn’t have to talk to the patients, a long consult was 15 minutes so you could churn through patients with a scrip and ECT and it PAID.
    The numbers speak for themselves. $15,000+ a week for one psychiatrist? Who’s going to give that up?
    To try and maintain their justifications for its use as a `therapy’, there are dozens of `studies’ with pages of sic-babble that when you look at it’s saying, (in 3 pages), that this is a transformer that converts (in Australia) 250 volts from the power point into 450 volts with140 pulses a second powered through the head for nearly 8 seconds, to give someone a fit. There’s not much mention of people getting this. Well, if you’re going to be `scientific’, people are more or less irrelevant.

    Nearly all these `clinics’ run on high profits from ECT. That these places get away with seriously and permanently damage over 50% of their patients is a medical, legal and moral disgrace. There is no other part of medicine that would be ALLOWED to do that.

    And by the way, here in Aus the ECT machines are classified alongside condoms! NO ECT machine has EVER been tested for safety ANYWHERE in the WORLD. Thanks for our government’s protection.
    The ECT `push’ who constantly tell us that the media have demonised ECT totally miss the point that the media, via psychiatrists demonise the mentally ill as violent and dangerous and therefore have to be `shocked’ into `behaving’ in whatever way they think is appropriate. In fact all the data support that the psychiatrists have sent out disclaimers that they will take NO responsibility for the prediction of who might be violent and who may not be. Because their results are dismal. WOW! In fact psych people are almost 50% less likely to be violent and are far more likely to be victims. The general population is NEVER told that!
    That ECT is being touted for our children, as more and more adults are wising up is chilling. Young parents, wanting the best for their babies are terribly vulnerable. The lists of psychiatrists who specialise in child and adolescents has sky-rocketed in the last few years. WHY? ECT for 4 year-olds?
    That ECT machine manufacturers are vigorously advertising their destructive wares to the third world is a clear indication that money is what drives ECT.
    In those countries, in the past, only 16% of people with `schizophrenia’ become permanently disabled. These are the people who are treated with anti-psychotic drugs and, yeah, you guessed it, ECT. But The Shock-makers are launching big time and doing their best to create a market.
    Sadly, there are so many, even in our relatively well educated population, who believe the doctor is always right. That there is some kind of `special’, `magical’ ability that a doctor has and therefore he/she is a person to be totally trusted. Even more sadly psychiatrists believe it too.
    It’s TIME to make them answer the hard questions.
    It’s time to ask our government how long can we our `mentally’ ill to be victimised by venal, greedy, arrogant charlatans?
    PS: I am looking for people here in Australia to create a counter attack and MAKE these guys answer to the their patients and their society.


  42. Posted by ARACELY on March 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    thank you for info. my son is in hospital for hurting himself. the nurse told me they are considering ect. I am scared for him. I told them I protest. I going to the hospital to prevent this for happening to him.


  43. Posted by DeirdreOliver on March 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I am so sorry you have been placed in this position. Has he had SSRI or SNRI anti-depressant drugs? This is important as some side effects can be devastating. If so check the info on the box. A few questions – Where are you? What hospital is he in? Is he a voluntary or an involuntary patient? How old is he and how long has he been there?


  44. Posted by y.ashish kr on March 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Due to thinkings .cant do routine works busy in rapid thoughts and heavy imaginations


  45. Posted by y.ashish kr on March 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Due to thinkings .cant do routine works busy in rapid thoughts and heavy imaginations any treatment to forget past


  46. Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I wonder if any of you could forward this to as many people as you can. We have reached a new level of psychiatric barbarity here in Australia. Contrary to the WHO, Human Rights groups, good medical practice, world wide, the pressure on the government from Psychiatrists with a taste for the high life and no morals, ($15,000+ per week), has prevailed and there are now no age limits on electroshocking our children, of ANY age!
    The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry has now got control of the Victorian Mental Health Act and is about to do the same for the NSW Act.
    Amendments such as the restrictions for Electroshock being banned for for children under 14 have been scrapped, as have those banning psychosurgery for children under 16. ECT now has NO age restrictions in Victoria. Penalties for inappropriate or illegal use of psychosurgery have also been removed. The new Act was passed by parliament this week. The NSW Mental Health Act contains the same conditions as Victoria.
    The NSW Mental Health Act is under review and on Sunday 30th March 2014
    Proposals are: ECT for ANY age; psychosurgery, remove all bans; remove penalties for illegal uses ECT/psychosurgery; no requirement for legal safeguards for restraint (children); sterilisation, without parental or guardian consent.
    The NSW Mental Health Expert Reference Group who advises the NSW Ministry of Health, highlighting key issues, do not want a prohibition placed on the use of ECT in children, such that ECT can be given to CHILDREN OF ANY AGE without personal or parental consent, if two medical practitioners (one a psychiatrist) sign a certificate saying it is needed and apply to the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) for consent.
    The law also allows for 14-year-old voluntary patients considered to have the capacity to consent, agreeing to ECT if two medical practitioners (one a psychiatrist) sign a certificate saying it is needed. No further consent is needed, including the child’s parents. If they refuse they are made `involuntary’ and face a Tribunal. Historically the Tribunal supports the doctors in 97% of cases.
    One of our own…Garry Walter is from NSW and is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is Clinician Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney and is Postgraduate Co-ordinator of research programs in the Faculty’s Discipline of Psychological Medicine. The subject of his PhD was ECT in young people…his research involves outcome measurement.
    ‘Recent studies have not detected long term cognitive effects following ECT’..‘There are currently no data to suggest that ECT damages a young person’s brain or adversely affects brain development…’.`..young patients received large numbers of treatments eg. up to 200 and/or very frequent treatments eg. 15 treatments in three days, reported no long-term problems in this regard.’ (??? he’s not looking)
    These amendments are for the benefit of psychiatrists. `…the biggest reason for the increased use of ECT. It’s economic.‘ Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
    Thank you, Deirdre Oliver. I am sickened and ashamed of my country.


  47. Posted by Lisa Cappeta on April 12, 2014 at 5:46 am

    ECT should be illegal. It is not right especially to give to a “patient” whom has had no prior mental issues, except a one time incident. I am looking for a law actually do to a misdiagnosis that delayed my freedom to leave a hospital that I was not suppose to be in for more than 8 days. Instead by the over drugging of 17 drugs, and the forced shock treatment without my informed consent. Has cost me everything, now they say I am to late in putting it together? well..do to no disclosure, until 5 months ago from a out patient treatment that I was sent to after discharge from the inpatient (these were two diff hospitals!) The out patient told me they did not agree with the inpatient stay of 32 days, or what they were treating me for. I did not know they were treating me for what they thought was a recurrent episode, but in fact was only a first time and only time of bizarre behavior with psychotic “features” and this was caused by stress and a recent wean off a medication I WAS PUT ON IN 1996 FOR PAIN! Not depression or mental illness. Out patient now understands what had happened to me while locked in for 32 days, also as of 5 months ago. Everything is very clear now. To all of us, and in no way could anything been known any sooner that it was. A 1x incident is NOT a Recurrent Episode! I am a few months past the SOL in NY. however..with factual reasons why!
    also one being I could not find any attorney to Look over my medicals until March 2014.
    and was told..Yes gross negligence was done, BUT the sol in ny has ran. I’m sorry.
    I’m sorry also.. because of the inpatient “treatments” that were forced, I lost my marriage, my home, I suffer from memory loss,and unable to follow simple directions, or understand things that are told to me. All that has been done to me, and with continuing “treatment” was given to a person NOT with a mental illness, but a person who was going through the withdrawal of a medication (zoloft) she was given for PAIN. – OFF LABEL USE IN 1996!


  48. Posted by Kathryn on April 12, 2014 at 5:53 am

    I’m so sorry for the treatment you received. I too was hospitalised for comolicated gried, drugged up and bullied into ect even though I fought not yo have it. Yes I was poorly, depressed but it was lifestyle changes I needed help with not drugging up and electrocuting. Worst is, my husband, the nan I’d supported through alcoholism for over twenty years refused to support my decision not to have ect and drugs. He was guilty of bullying me into both too. I feel violated, my autonomy was taken away from me. They may as well of told me to kneel down and hit me on the head with a baseball bat. The ect gave me a brain injury from which five years on I am still struggling to recover. The so cslled professionals have no idea I’m sorry to say. My trust is destroyed. I lost my home, my children, my self respect, everything. Subjecting the brain, the nerve centre of your entire body to an electrical charge when they don’t even know how it works is criminal. They stun animals this way before they cut their throats and that’s his it made me feel. I am bitter and outraged too.


  49. Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Lisa Cappeta… THIS IS MONSTROUS! HOW DARE THEY? HOW DARE THEY? How dare they claim that this is TREATMENT? How dare they claim that 0VER 70% of ECT are HAPPY, even GRATEFUL for this? How dare they lie, bully, threaten, even physically manhandle people they’re supposedly trying to HELP? I have written posts on this site and many others so I won’t repeat myself but I think it’s time to look at the legal recourses we DON’T have. In Australia we have the right to sue, BUT, how?

    1) It can take months/years to find out what the damage is, thereby pulling any legal rug out from under us time wise. (How can we tell that our memory has gone, because it’s gone.) Even obvious early damage (6 months) is unlikely to be believed.
    2) We have to PROVE that what the doctor is was negligent or liable. (If he was operating under the law as HE sees it – forget that. He just has to say it.)
    3) We have to somehow PROVE that we aren’t making it all up, that our opinion is NOT the result of our ILLNESS. It is presumed that if we make a complaint we are clearly SICK! After all, doctors are educated and respected, they don’t tell lies.
    4) We have to PROVE that we didn’t NEED ECT in the face of a government that permits a certain sub group of its citizens to be forced to have treatment, has removed our human rights, and does not support us.
    5) Even if a person realises in time, how can they, with limited means, (which may well be BECAUSE of the drugs/ECT), face a lengthy court case with no guarantee of success, in the face of being humiliated and destroyed in the process. The defence team, (and it will be a team), will be stacked with `mates’, authorities’ reps (RCP, RANZCP). I doubt there would be any law firms that would take this on. They like to have a `chance’ of winning.
    6) Any scientific evidence that we present (and there is a huge body of it that supports our claims), will be ignored, their’s, often altered from the original, will presented as fact. In one case (US), an `expert witness’ made up a `diagnostic’ phrase, never heard of before, presented it and won.
    ABOUT the legal issues – here in Aus, we have a Royal Commission about child sex abuse in orphanages, the Catholic church is in the gun right now – my point is that we are talking about incidents from 40+ years ago. Previously no act, no matter how bad, could be prosecuted because it was too long ago. COULD THIS BE A PRECEDENT FOR US?
    I am going to try to talk to a human rights lawyer.
    There was also a Royal Commission in the 1980s about a private clinic that destroyed
    hundreds of people’s lives and actually killed quite a few. ANOTHER PRECEDENT?

    BUT, right now I am trying to organise a project to tell the general public what’s going on. Hardly anyone I speak to knows that ECT not only exists, but is increasing in use as we speak. This project, which began in Canada will be aimed at giving us a voice. I intend it to be a very loud voice. Part of it will be 2 public `panel’ meetings with expert panels, another will be to organise a `Mother’s Day’ protest, (too late for this year, sadly), but it will be set in motion from 2015 until ECT stops. (70% ECT is females). There are many ways of organising noisy protests and we the numbers and organisers.
    Back to the laws of our lands that don’t protect us. They only protect the psychiatrists who, because of what we pay them, have the money to destroy us. Their claim, when the media even hint at how dangerous and destructive ECT really is, it is publishing lies and misinformation about ECT (`One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’), is tawdry PR/Spin without ANY scientific basis.
    Unfortunately VERY naive journalists, who rarely speak to any anti-ECT people because the doctors assure them that we are `sick’ therefore not credible, and why would the doctors lie, become part of the endorsement campaign. Mental health issues don’t attract the more experienced journos because it is very low on the totem pole.
    We hope to remedy that and may well be able to let them destroy themselves via the diagnostic bible DSM V. This `document’ has shot psychiatry in the foot by calling an amazing amount of human behaviour, `sick’. The word is out, and many respectable institutions like our own Monash Medical School, are so embarrassed and disgusted by it, stating that they will not teach it, or use it at all. They say that it has been compiled for the drug companies and the courts!
    We need to get these guys to answer for their profession and patients!
    Now, what to do. PUBLICITY, PUBLICITY, PUBLICITY! The kind of attack on public perceptions that led to `equal rights’ for women (half the population), blacks (Martin Luther King et al), `gay’ rights, among others. We need a Mike Moore kind of documentary movie re ECT as it really is. Stage plays, comedy (yup, if you ridicule something people will remember it and these cowboys take themselves VERY seriously – after all they are DOCTORS! Except most real doctors consider them cowboys); protests in the streets, picket `shock shop’ hospitals, sit-ins etc, etc.
    When what happened to you is so recent, they can’t hide behind, `Oh, it’s different now”. I am collecting `voices’ for a document that will be published, may I use your experiences, ALL OF YOU? No real names, or contact details will be used. It will also include some of the most stupid, silly, contradictory, venal voices of the docs as well. This info may form part of the movie in the future but only with the informed consent of the individual.
    If any of you have any ideas on all of this, please post it. It is time to stop complaining (Psychiatrist’s words) and ACT. They MAY NOT INJURE PEOPLE PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ANYMORE!
    Oh, and there are programs, especially in the UK, where you might find support and help to get through the horrible aftermath of ECT, and the drugs. The Icarus Project, `Hearing Voices’ are two I can think of. Look up `alternatives’.
    PS: I work at being a happy granny, a fair tennis player, a dedicated searcher of the truth, a agent for the welfare of my fellow man, an implacable enemy of hypocrites, liars, and those who use people’s trust to harm them. Go in peace. DEEEO


  50. Posted by Sharon Racklyeft on April 13, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Hate email & text, but have lots to say against ect.anyone can email me there phone no racklyeft1@hotmail.co.uk


  51. Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Dear Sharon, I know computers act like our enemies but they can make it easier to communicate. I’m in Australia so a phone call could cost you your food bill for the week. Would you like to write and post it to me. I am getting a new Post Office box this week and can let you know the address. When the meetings, which I may call `Your Voice’ get off the ground we will have spots in the proceedings for the experiences of survivors of ECT/drugs who cannot be there in person, for whatever reason, to be read out. If you can just keep a lookout on this site we will try to get your voice out there.


  52. Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Sharon, Sorry. I mean write your STORY out and post it as a letter. It must be heard. Just a little `senior’s moment there.


  53. Posted by AllinMyHead on April 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

    After reading the horror stories on this board, I’m grateful that I didn’t find this until after my recent treatment was completed. I am not here to negate the pain of others, but since I’ve had this treatment, I can only tell you that it probably saved my life. I’m lucky enough to live in an area of the USA where I have access to a world class psychiatric facility. I had 10 RUL Ultrabrief treatments. After my 10th, I experienced some cognitive difficulties and my doc and I agreed to stop the treatments (I had two left). The cognitive problems went away immediately and I feel great. I’m working on a plan with my doc to find a way to stay well and in remission, and I know that involves me taking care of myself while I’m well – diet, exercise, good sleep hygiene, and taking care of business – stay busy.

    I guess I’m lucky that, although I do suffer from sometimes debilitating depression, I don’t hear voices. I’ve had multiple failed med trials and after years of family leave and having to take short term disability, I felt the need to take the risk and go through ECT. Before I agreed, I did research about how it’s done and it became clear that one of the biggest problems is that the procedure and training to perform it are not regulated in terms of standards. For example, I ran into some who comes to the USA to get her treatments because in Canada, only bilateral is available (and a lengthily waiting list). She comes here to get Ultrabrief which is described in Dr. Sackeim’s study as the type which results in far less cognitive side effects.

    I can only hope the future brings better treatments for mental illness. My family has been deeply affected by this illness. Instead of fighting to get this treatment banned, I’d like to see more education of the lack of standards across the globe. Patients in third world countries are still subject to treatment without consent. They are treated without sedation and they are treated using draconian methods that should be outlawed EVERYWHERE.


  54. Posted by Cheryl Prax on April 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Unfortunately Allinmyhead you will find that this apparent happiness is temporary and the depression will come back and then they will suggest maintenance ‘treatments’. Once or twice a month. The more you have the more the damage. There will be memories that have been erased that you do not know about yet. If I deleted some of your old emails you would not realise until you went looking for them. In fact with ECT you won’t even look for them as it will be as if they never existed. If you have extensive cognitive tests you will find that you can’t think as well as you could before and your IQ will be down. Meds don’t work because there is nothing wrong with your brain and the same for ECT. I am sorry you have been hoodwinked but don’t preach here until you get tested and ask your family if they think you are damaged.


  55. Posted by DeirdreOliver on April 14, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Allinmyhead, I am so glad you found relief for your depression. However, that you are discussing other options with your doctor indicates his awareness that those good results are unlikely to last more than a few weeks. The injuries caused by the ECT brain injury, (organic brain syndrome), which can be assessed by an EEG, that measures brainwave activity, and would, almost certainly, show that you still have tracings that are far from normal. (Ask your doctor if he could check you out). As Cheryl says, it can take weeks and months to discover what kind of damage has been done. It was 6 months after my first 66 ECTs stopped, before I got the first clue that something was badly wrong with my memory.(13 years, wiped). It took more than a year before I realised that much of my sculpture and writing abilities had gone, and even then I didn’t know they were gone for good. They were.
    There is so much information out there that doesn’t back up ECT, so many poorly designed, misleading, downright dishonest (Janicak and others) studies/mega-studies. There is also so much info that is suppressed, not published and ignored because it doesn’t support the views and the pockets (lots of dollars – $15,000 ++a week), of the bio-psychs. Your guy would be doing well if he’s fielding international patients! The pro-ECT docs ($$$) have stacked the professional journals’ editorial boards, bribed all kinds of authorities, and garner big bucks to carry out some of the worst, silliest, bits of reasearch you’ll find in ALL SCIENCE, not just in psychiatry. Some, if presented as a year 7 student (12-13 years old) as a science project, the teacher would rip it up, stash it in the bin and make the kid do it again.
    You may have to take precautions. YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR TREATMENT. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FUTURE. Make sure your doctor gives you the scientific justifications for `maintenance’ ECT – AKA the `road to dementia’. I also query the use of anti-depressants following ECT to try to prolong the effects. Haven’t you had those for years? So now, why are they going to be any more effective than they were before? There are a vast number of these logic lapses in psychiatric circles. I’m recording them as it shows that psychiatry is a belief system, NOT science or `evidence based’ as they claim!
    Check out research from various sources. I’ve listed some below.
    If your doctor is reluctant for you to read scientific papers, ask him why? If he recommends the following studies, be very careful. The West `sham’ ECT (placebo) trial 1981, and the 1978 Freeman `sham’ trials are actually invalid studies. Both of these are trotted out as ECT friendly BUT neither of them actually DID a complete `placebo’ study, rendering their findings, fiction. Another mega-study by Janicak (1987) also published a series of dishonest manipulations of the truth. He listed a group of trials but re-invented most of them. He changed the figures, failed to mention that one study only had 4 subjects, and in the Ulett study, he rather spectacularly totally altered the findings of the original study so that it supported real ECT as far, far better than the placebo. In fact it was exactly the same, and he couldn’t add up either. (to me, 21 x 4 = 84 but he said it was 83). Anyway have a look at the ones I listed.
    I’m not sure quite what you meant by `cognitive’ ?? that immediately resolved when ECT was stopped?
    RUL ECT causes global brain injury as they all do. Your doctor claimed it was much less damaging than the other types.. This doesn’t mean it’s good, just that it’s less and that’s debatable. What they do is jack up the power and the duration until the power is just as damaging as bilateral ECT. There are neuropsych tests that will reveal quite marked problems that the person may not be aware of. Right Brain is the where our non-verbal abilities lie. It includes creativity, spacial orientation (sport, dancing, finding your way about, etc), organizational abilities, planning, intellectual processing among others. It is common for right brain injured people to be unaware of any changes to the point that they actually don’t see from their right eye and don’t know.
    Sackheim said ALL types of ECT, `even the most benign’, cause significant, permanent damage in 50%+ of recipients. If your doctor suggests that any brain damage you may have is likely to be caused by the chronic severe depression you have, suggest he take another look.
    There are some really important studies that `prove’ chronic, severe depression causes degenerative brain damage. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have noticed that there are NO chronically, severely depressed people who have NOT had medications, in these studies. Thus, all these `works’ can claim is that they’re documenting the long term dementing effects of psychotropic drugs. There is a lot of evidence that DOES show this bad news. You can lose 25 years of life due to the pills alone!
    Plus, if the damage has been caused by the `illness’, i.e. depression, why do people with schizophrenia, mania and `catatonia’ as well as those who are having their first episode of depression, have exactly the same cognitive and memory loss as each other after ECT?
    The saddest thing about this is that there are psychotherapy techniques available that are doing great things, even CBT, which has had some issues over the last few years, in the hands of experts, may be useful. But, I mean `experts’.
    Unfortunately psychiatry gets funded, but psychology/counselling doesn’t. Most of today’s psychiatrists have very little experience in ANY psychotherapy techniques. A nice half hour chat once a week/month isn’t going to cut it. A scrip and an ECT referral only takes 5 minutes so you can fit more paying patients in a day. Consults on ECT patients on ECT days can be a quick as a nod, and a smile. The doc knows you won’t remember.
    I just noticed the `official’ line – ?‘neurological realignment’. God knows what this means? Is it the same for ALL the diagnoses? Schizophrenia? Catatonia? (unseen since the 60s)? Mania (it can CAUSE that)? Or does the brain know/choose where to direct the 450 volts via 140 pulses per second for 8 seconds? Does the brain know, and how, which bits require some realignment? Oh, and it’s supposed to increase IQ – repair your memory * – enable psychotherapy – If anyone tells you this garbage, they are showing they have no respect for your intelligence whatsoever.
    Here are a few people’s feelings about the subject.
    Loretta Wilson
    April 20, 2013
    In July 2006, I wrote about Electroconvulsive Therapy and stated, “If I had the opportunity to have another series of treatments I would do it!”  I had been compelled to believe the shocks had saved my life.****
    Did electroconvulsive therapy save my life?  The destructive nature of electroshock destroys much of what makes people who they are now and will become in the years ahead.  No way, no how can electroshock be credited for saving one moment of my present existence!  If I had continued to believe the doctors’ reports that said I would need maintenance ECT and psych drugs for the remainder of my life, I don’t believe I would still be here. Today, I am alive and well and I believe it is only because I said no to the shocks in 2000.
    Another post:
    I know it hurt my memory but they swear it doesn’t. After the last ECT I told my doctor it was making me dumb….he said, “you are too intelligent to do more ECT’s”. I am a doctor what the hell would have happened if I was deemed normal?
    Mark: For depression treatment we have those who assert a treatment success rate of 80% – But, APA’s Psychiatric Services,(2010) “The problem is clinical depression treatment often is ineffective. Only 5.8% of patients with clinical depression have symptom remission within six months of treatment.
    Some others:
    “I miss the person that got away from me”;
    “ECT destroyed brain cells filled with memory”;
    “My social work career and law aspirations vanished.”;
    “My life as I knew it has been wiped out for me by ECT. … I don’t know who I am”;
    “They told me it would cure my depression. No one cared why I was depressed.”;
    “there would only be some minimal and temporary memory loss…ECT erased 20 years or more of my life”;
    “I am not living. I am enduring. I have a life of joyless striving.”[Since ECT]

    Thousands of people going out there to save others having to go through what they’ve been through – where else in medicine do you see that?

    Read & Bentall 2010 -THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY: A LITERATURE REVIEW Conclusions – Given the strong evidence (summarised here) of persistent and for some, permanent brain dysfunction, primarily evidenced in the form of retrograde and anterograde amnesia, and the evidence of a slight but significant of death, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT is so poor that its use cannot be scientifically justified. i Implications for consent to ECT.”

    “The sham ECT literature: Ross, Colin (2006)

    “Electroshock: death, brain damage, memory loss, and brain washing”. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 11, 489-512. Frank, L. (2006).

    Robertson & Pryor 2006 – Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: Informing and Assessing patients.

    “The cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy in community settings.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 32, 244-254. Sackeim, H., Prudic, J., Fuller, R., Keilp, J., Lavori, P. and Olfson, M. (2007). Based on numerous standardized psychological tests, six months after the last ECT every form of the treatment was found to cause lasting memory and mental dysfunction. In the summary words of the investigators, “Thus, adverse cognitive effects were detected six months following the acute treatment course.” They concluded, “this study provides the first evidence in a large, prospective sample that adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.”
    “After traumatic brain damage has persisted for six months, it is likely to remain stable or even to grow worse. Therefore, the study confirms that routine clinical use of ECT causes permanent damage to the brain and its mental faculties..”.
    Maybe one day I can write a short post but hey?


  56. Posted by Allia on May 6, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I’m currently doing a speech in class on why ect is dangerous in looking this up I have found very little opposing the “treatment” it took me an hour and a half to find this one article


    • Posted by DeirdreOliver on May 8, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Have a look at:
      `Electroconvulsive Therapy Causes Permanent Amnesia and Cognitive Deficits’, – Neuropsychopharmacology, (Magazine) in January 2007 by prominent researcher Harold Sackeim of Columbia University reveals that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) causes permanent amnesia and permanent deficits in cognitive abilities, which affect individuals’ ability to function.’ (Find this at Virtual Psych Center Website – usually a pro psychiatry website)
      `How have the shock doctor’s responded to the latest confirmation that their treatment destroys the brain and mind? Not a single one has expressed any caution following the publication of the study. As we now see, they have pressed harder to enforce it on children and involuntary adults.’ Peter Breggin.
      Cognition means `abstract thinking, judgment, planning, intelligence, among other things. The memory problems include remembering your past, (like your wedding day, your training, the birth of and memory of your children), plus learning & remembering new things. (This man spent over 20 years saying that ECT was the safest, most effective treatment there is until this study, when he said `oops, I was wrong)
      `Electroshock as head injury’, – Linda Andre;
      `The Sham ECT Literature: Implications for Consent to ECT’, – Dr Colin Ross
      `The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review’, – Dr John Read & Dr Richard Bentall (One of the best)
      `Time to Abandon Electroconvulsion as a Treatment in Modern Psychiatry’, – Hanafy Youseff, Fatma Youseff.
      `Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients’, – Harold Robertson & Robin Pryor
      `ECT Anonymous – Research Information’, May 1999
      `Brain Damage and Memory Loss form ECT’, Peter Sterling, neurologist.
      `Electroshock’, Dr John Breeding
      `Psychiatry’s Electroconvulsive Shock Treatment A Crime Against Humanity’, Lawrence Stevens
      `ECT: Sham Statistics, the Myth of Convulsive Therapy, and the Case for Consumer Misinformation – Douglas G Cameron
      `A Shocking treatment?’ – Dr Lucy Johnstone. These are a tip of the iceberg, relatively easy to read, and mostly showing the physical dangers of ECT. Here are 2 of many looks at the phsychological effects.
      `Adverse psychological effects of ECT’, Dr Lucy Johnstone
      `Waiting for Oblivion: Women’s Experiences with Electroshock’, Prof Cheryl Leslie van Daarlen-Smith.
      Most of these are relatively easy to read. The reason you’ve had trouble finding this information is because the pro ECT doctors have control over what goes into the medical journals, but now, with the web, the real work that has always been around is at last coming through.
      For 75 years the psychiatrists have known how brain damaging ECT is. In the beginning they said straight out that it was the DAMAGE that produced the therapy effect.
      The `new, improved’ ECT looks a bit more acceptable, but the power going thru people’s heads is MUCH higher now than ever before.
      I’ll just give you some examples of what some of these old doctors said and how people who’ve had the treatment feel about it.
      As you can see, I’m against ECT- I have severe memory loss, my children going up & most of my writing & artistic skills are gone. But I was a psychiatric nurse, and I have seen ECT’s destructive results in large numbers of people.
      Human studies show that former ECT patients suffer from persistent loss of mental function and dementia (see Breggin, 2008; Sackeim et al., 2007).
      Doctors: The adverse effects of ECT on cognitive functioning, particularly memory, are typically more pronounced and have been known for some time (Janis and Astrachan 1951; Hihn et al 2006; Fujita et al 2006)
      Commonly, patients undergo several seconds after ECT in which their brain flatlines–zero detectable electrical activity–a sign of permanent brain death when extended for minutes. Next: You might be able to shortcut by reading these directions.
      The scientific papers that prove ECT is no good.
      To read or download the scientific papers which we are republishing as a contribution to the debate on ECT, please click on the year of publication. Most will open in an onscreen reader in ‘magazine’ format. Click the download button at top left to save a copy. You can also print or email the files from the onscreen reader. 
In chronological order, there are five papers:
      1. 1998: ECT — scientific, ethical, political issues
2. 2005: Patients’ perspectives
3. 2006: Memory, cognitive effects
4. 2007: Assessment & treatment
5. 2007: The cognitive effects
And the Quotationary: 2006
      None of these is an easy read. All are highly technical. For the general reader, we recommend in most cases close study of the Abstract and Conclusions. They alone testify both to the damage ECT causes and to the cover-up of this damage by the profession in Ireland. The files are in PDF form, so you will need Adobe Reader or some equivalent to open and read them.
      ECT does not work to relieve depression, schizophrenia, mania or `catatonia’ for more than a week or two in 30-46% only.
      ECT causes brain damage in every case – it’s not whether, but how much, for how long.
      ECT causes enormous long term psychological harm.
      ECT does not protect people from suicide and may increase the risk during and shortly after the treatment.
      ECT decreases life expectancy for the elderly & may kill 1:200.
      Psychiatrists have always known this. The claim of `new, improved’ ECT being `better’ is misleading. The power used is greater, there are few, if any, controls on how it is applied, there have NEVER been ANY safety tests on ANY ECT machines. All that is different is cosmetic. The writhing twisting, bone breaking ECT of old is usually no more because of paralysing drugs, but what’s happening in the brain is much worse.
      Good luck with your project, I hope I have helped.


      • Posted by DeirdreOliver on May 9, 2014 at 12:20 am

        Sorry – left out the old, and not so old, doc’s quotes:
        1. “The reduction of intelligence is an important factor in the curative process… the fact is that some of the very best cures that one gets are in those individuals whom one reduces almost to amentia (feeble-mindedness).
        In 1942, psychiatrist Dr. Abraham Myerson
        2. “to cure these patients”, it was necessary to “destroy the more or less fixed arrangements of cellular connections that exist in the brain, and particularly those which are related to the frontal lobes”,[76] thus removing their fixed pathological brain circuits. Moniz 1938
        3. This induced, organic, psychotic reaction makes the patient forget his worries, breaks up introspection and obsessive thinking and reverses the effect, frequently changing depression into mental elation.” Psychiatrist 1950s
        4. “shock treatment was not harmful, and although it might cause some limited memory loss, it only eliminated unhappy or depressing memories, and that Mr. Akkerman’s full memory would be restored in a short time but that he would no longer feel depressed.” Psychiatrist, 2001((Mr. Akkerman lost his memory for most of the events of his life. He no longer recognised or knew his wife, his two teenaged children, his parents, his brother. Mr. Akkerman had not recovered these memories. Abilities lost included playing and writing music (he played professionally for years). After the shock treatment, he was unable to remember what he did in his job, how to perform the duties of his job, and no longer knew the people he formerly worked with.
        5. Early researchers: ECT worked by “abolishing pathological experiences,””total dissolution of brain function,” i.e. damaging the brain and/or erasing memories of painful experiences.
        6. Some doctors suggest that ECT, like head injury, artificially induces euphoria.(49) Noted by early researchers as “post convulsive euphoria,” this giddiness or high due to brain damage is interpreted by psychiatrists as improvement.
        7. 1996 — AccoPsychiatrists don’t make much money, and by practicing ECT they can bring their income almost up to the level of the family practitioner or internist.
CONRAD SWARTZ (U.S. psychiatrist)
        8. Re ECT (unknown author – possibly Max Fink) “It is necessary to damage the brain in order to cure it.”
        Now for a few ECT survivors:
        1. franam – it’s horrifying and has destroyed my memory.
        2. Tigerdragon – it was a nightmare!! It did not work…
        3. ThisClose – Worst experience of my life. I still have trouble dealing with the aftermath of this treatment 8 years later.
        4. kel5 – Was a horrific experience. Wouldn’t recommend to worst enemy. Have permanent brain damage.
        5. not4me2 – terrible, won’t want anyone anyone to do it
        6. Gyrovagi – it didn’t work and it wiped out a lot of my memory and my cognitive skills. I feel like I lost my life.
        7. Snowflake138 – Back in 1996. it almost killed me…had a stroke in the middle of one and that was that…it was horrible .
        8. bellanomore (Depression) – dont do this !!!!!!! i did and it ruined my memories and my life !!!!
        9. SheriW – it was an awful experience. My depression worsened and I sustained shortterm and longterm memory loss.
        10. chrisahx – absolutely AWFUL. All I got from this were a bunch of LOST MEMORIES and now my memory sucks! NO relief from depression at all!

        There are thousands & thousands of people, all over the world, who are banding together in 40 different (many linked), organisations to try and stop ECT being used at all, ever! There is NO OTHER part of medicine where this happens. When children and teens can be forced, under the law, to have this treatment, it is time to be afraid. Even if you and your parents both say no, the psychiatrists can go to a `tribunal’ (a supervising board), and overrule you both. Please send this message out to your friends and contacts. Public outrage is one of the few things that can stop this. It’s you guys who are the future, and it’ will be your world. Please help us make it safe.

  57. Posted by lisa gina on May 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I am a victim of ect if given when unwarranted like me’ the damage is irreversible


    • Posted by JANA on October 1, 2014 at 9:42 am

      You think and know that the damage is not reversible/ that is not Ok. We need to ask for findng a way to repair our brains. But whom to ask?


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  60. Posted by JANA on September 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm



  61. Posted by JANA on September 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm



  62. Posted by DeirdreOliver on September 22, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Therein lies the problem. The lies, by commission & ommission leave you with a sense of being alone and powerless. And right now you are, we all are. My rage about this was all consuming but after 13 years of psych abuse, I’ve done my homework, I know what they did, I know more about science than most of my docs do, and too much for the others, and I’m spreading the word. I’m re-writing the disgracefully misleading, even threatening “Information” pamphlet, looking at realistic ways of getting people to see “Informed Consent”. Have a look at Dr Bob Johnson’s recommended Consent form, he was a psychiatrist & Quaker, a kind & gentle man & nowhere near as rabid as I was. I’m about to publish a send-up of the ECT machine Ad I saw- using the REAL facts. Maybe ridicule is the way to go? Let’s face it, morals, science, demos, court cases etc haven’t stopped them, but let’s see these arrogant psychiatrists as the pompous, smug & venal people they so often are, standing up in front of us with their flies undone. It’s hard to taken seriously when it’s all hanging out. Good luck, all. Laughter and love, what more do we need?


  63. Posted by DeirdreOliver on September 22, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Oh, and when I’ve finished it, i’ll post my ever growing LOGIC LAPSES in psychiatry list. If so many people weren’t being hurt it would be hilarious. But, there again, don’t look now, lads, but your flies are undone, and, lassies, you should have checked the back of your skirt BEFORE you left the loo. Oops!


  64. Read Deirdre Oliver and others in the Electroshock edition of Asylum magazine out now – Sept 2014 http://www.asylumonline.net/
    Subscribe at http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/products/category/asylum-magazine


  65. At this time it looks like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform available right now.
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  66. Posted by DeirdreOliver on September 29, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Hey, Randall, I’ve been thinking of doing just that myself. I was a writer and actor as well as a psych nurse, so I’ve been around production for over 50 years. I would love to be involved. Deirdre


  67. Posted by JANA on October 1, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Why doctors get paid for damaging ECT procedures instead of being penalized?


  68. Posted by JANA on October 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

    What can reverse my damaged brain to level of functoning? Whom to ask? Noone knows in Calgary Canada? I want my health back.


  69. Posted by Edith A Phillips on October 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium. I lived threw TB in the 1930’s. I survived TB while staying at the Waverly Hills in 1939. I never went threw ECT my self, but few of my own relatives did. From what I saw first hand, it was torture, and barbaric. I don’t give a rats ass what anyone says about how it helped them. Then you were nuts to begin with, to think it helped you in any way. That or you are just a sadomasochist plain and simple. The only one in my family to survive ECT while inside the Wood Haven at Waverly Hills, was my grandson, he lives in Walton Kentucky now. He’s the one child exception to the rule. How he lived threw it we will never know. The ECT broke his long bones. Caused much damage threw out his whole system. Some how he recovered and went on in life. I took care of him as he heeled. So don’t freaken tell, me it’s something to consider.You have no Idea what that child and million other suffered as well. There are so many stories concering ECT never told.


  70. Posted by Johnc824 on October 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles. efbekgeekcee


  71. Posted by DeirdreOliver on December 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Yes Cheryl, I would. But I have re-written a lot since the Asylum piece and would want to edit my story somewhat. i.e. make it tighter and better with a point to it. I am currently working on an `”ECT Kit” with up to date honest info, references and a video NOT made by Somatics Inc. Our government NSW Australia, as well as private hospitals have taken most of their “for the patient info” (some word for word) from a document and video (!) distributed by SOMATICS INC maker of the Thymatron ECT machine as a PUBLIC SERVICE. For all the carry-on by the ECT proponents about the age of studies etc that s***can ECT, this “educational” piece was written in 1995! I’m struggling with this, I tell you! I’ll just put a little piece here about the Thymatron’s latest advert on the web 2014. With a few of MY comments “…” It may be too long for here but I’ll try.
    “Research carried out by Swartz, Abrams, McCall, Fink, Sackheim, Weiner among others is extraordinarily compromised as all of these people own or are employed by Somatics Inc (Thymatron) or MECTA Corp (spECTrum) who make the ECT machines. When “conflict of interest” is mentioned these guys bluff, blather and run.
    The ECT video played to you has been made by one of these manufacturers.”
    “Thymatron (Somatics Inc) system lV.

    Ultrabrief stimuli need higher current for greater efficacy. If you still use the 800mA maximum current of Mecta devices, to assure full efficacy you should upgrade to the 900 mA provided by Thymatron® instruments.
    Further, the Thymatron® System IV is the only instrument that delivers a 0.3 msec ultrabrief stimulus across the entire dosage range, 25% more than the Mecta.

    “You know, in normal marketing circles it’s not considered quite “quite” to can the opposition to make your thing look good. You’re really supposed to advertise your product on its merits, not on the failings of the opposition.
    Still both could be under a bit of a threat, now. The Indians are making ECT machines now & I’ll bet they’ll be cheaper than these two. Who will pick them up first? The government, always on the lookout for a budget cut, particularly in Mental Health, or the private guys who are raking it in and want more.
    Will the Australian Therapeutic Goods Admin ask for tests on the new ones? They never have on the “old” ones. And, unlike other countries, our regs have passed them in the same safety category as a condom!
    You know how the doc and the nurses told you it’s all NEW and improved? And that it’s so quick and harmless? The first pulse machine was the Brief Pulse, 1940s, yeah? The “new” Ultra Brief, 1960s. They were supposed to reduce the brain damage but they didn’t “work”. WHY? Because they didn’t put out enough POWER to cause enough INJURY to get the “therapeutic effect”. So the docs went back to the oldies. But a good engineer-psychiatrist like Dicky Weiner (MECTA), among others, didn’t let that stop him. They set about making the pulse machines that put out a far higher voltage than ever was used before. A straight shock at that level would kill you, but with the pulse, it doesn’t. Oh, and that ALL those “bad” effects belong to the “bad old days” before the “new scientific improvements”? As you see in this ad, more power, more better! TRUTH? More electricity, more HARM!
    So, no matter what the nurses, who don’t know ❉!★ tell you, read on!”

    Thymatron® stimuli are 60% more effective for inducing seizures than the 800 mA Mecta stimuli (Chanpattana et al., 2001). This enormous difference results from the much higher stimulus dose of Thymatron® 900 mA current than 800 mA, yielding a larger volume of seizure foci in the brain (Swartz, 2006 – Co-owner & RESEARCHER????).

    “This means that more of your brain is being electrocuted with much higher power. `Seizure foci’ in this instance means electrical charges affecting more of your neurons in a given time. These are the same terms used in the description of better and more efficient machines for “electric chair” executions. Some US states have abandoned the use of electricity to kill people because of the risk of causing terrible harm before they die. ECT, however continues to gain ever more power for “therapeutic purposes”.”

    -This provides clinicians with a dose advantage in treating high-threshold geriatric patients. With the new age adjusted titration method for Thymatron® instruments seizure threshold titration is easier, more precise, and requires fewer stimulations.

    ” “Stimulations” are sales (PR) speak for electric shocks. Old people have more resistance to electrical charges so more power is needed to make them FIT. More power = more brain damage, even these men will admit that, with a “but” added, that “it is more effective”. Old people, particularly and usually women, don’t heal like young people do, but since these people also recommend ECT for dementia “patients”, there’s an element of, “Who cares, they’re past it anyway”.”

    SPECIAL EEG SIGNAL PROCESSING MEASURES provide continuous monitoring of level of consciousness and cortical activity: 95% Spectral Edge Frequency, Relative Delta Power, and Median Frequency (Billard V et al, 1997: A comparison of spectral edge, delta power, and bispectral index as EEG measure of alfentanil, propofol, and midazolam drug efect [?]; HansP et al, 2001: Effect of nitrous oxide on the bispectral index and the 95% spectral edge frequency during propofol-fentanyl anaesthesia; SakaiT et al, 1999: Hypnotic endpoints vs. the bispectral index, 95% spectral edge frequency and median frequency during propofol infusion with or without fentanyl).

    “Wanko-sci-babble re paralysing drugs, almost totally not read by or understood by most psychiatrists, and NO other staff.
    “Cortical activity” is brain waves (see “post-ictal suppression”) below. Nobody in the “ECT SUITE” monitors “level of consciousness”. No need. You’re out to it because you’ve had massive electrical power of up to 450 Volts at over a 1000 pulses per treatment powering through your brain for 8 seconds.”

    STATE-OF-THE-ART 4-CHANNEL PRINTER STANDARD ON ALL UNITS allows you to monitor two channels of EEG, plus ECG and EMG (or, choose 4 channels of EEG), while providing hard-copy documentation for later reference.

    “The hard copies are filed by nurses who know nothing and only looked at again by the docs if someone dies, to check if they can be held responsible. If it looks bad the record is “lost”. If you want to see these, you have to ask for them specifically. They MAY give them to you but only if they think you won’t understand them, or won’t have the nouse to go to someone who does. This will include nearly everyone.”

    • SINGLE FRONT-PANEL DIAL lets you select the traditional Thymatron® functions plus important new ones, including Optimal Stimulus programs that automatically set the most efficient combination of stimulus parameters at every stimulus dose setting.

    ” “Optimal Stimulus” are set and forget whatever (high) level they might guess at, so they can keep discussing the next “Conference” ECT will pay them to go to. Luckily a buzzer MAY sound if you go into cardiac arrest, and they can reach for the resuc kit under the table, if nobody’s moved it.”

    • ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORD-KEEPING is simple with the included GenieTM IV EMR software. Patient treatment records created and stored with the GenieTM IV are easily incorporated into hospital database systems.

    “Pity about most of the obs charts, without dates, names, signatures.”

    • EXTENDED LOWER STIMULUS RANGE with pulsewidth and frequency to 0.25 or 0.3 msec and 10 Hz allows you to deliver stimuli up to 8 seconds long, to optimize treatment in accordance with research showing greater efficacy of shortpulsewidth, extended-duration stimuli (Isenberg et al, 1996).

    ” “Stimuli” up to 8 seconds means a continuous pulsing electrical current through your brain for this long. Call for silence while you count it out. That’s how long your brain is being assaulted by from 225 to 450 volts of electricity. Ask them to do a video of you with an electric light globe in your mouth for the duration. It can take the place of the mouthguard you need even after you’ve been told it’s not like “one Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and you won’t convulse. It’ll light up! One bright doc said, and I’m not kidding, “Yes, you’ll have a seizure, but you won’t convulse!” (see re the brain, below! Does this mean that your brain is not really part of YOU?)”

    EEG COHERENCE MEASURES of maximum sustained coherence, and time to peak coherence, inter-hemispheric cross-correlation measures reported to reflect seizure quality and clinical impact (Krystal & Weiner, 1994; Krystal et al, 1995; Krystal,1998).

    ” “Inter-hemispheric cross-correlation” means that if you agree to have unilateral ECT because it causes less “transient” (2 – 30 +years) confusion & memory loss, you will get a shock across the whole brain anyway. “Seizure quality” is a) a matter of opinion, and b) to do with the huge spikes that, if you weren’t paralysed, (and you may not be, see below), would lift you at least 30 cms off the bed and could break several bones including your leg, strip ligaments from your joints and leave you rigid with pain for days or weeks on end. Imagine what’s going on in your brain? “Clinical impact” will be a traumatic brain injury with unconsciousness for up to and over half an hour, leading to a significant Organic Brain Syndrome which, if presented just ONCE at an emergency ward would put you in Intensive Care. If you are a footballer you probably not be allowed to play again for at least a fortnight. If you are having ECT they will do it again the day after tomorrow.”

    • EEG AMPLITUDE measures of maximum sustained EEG power, and average seizure energy, with separate values for early, mid–and postictal seizure phases, found by the Duke University group to be important correlates of seizure quality and efficacy ( Krystal & Weiner, 1994; Krystal et al, 1995; Krystal, 1998).

    ” “Seizure quality (see above), & efficacy” means that this enormous FIT is supposed to have a really good effect on your depression/schizophrenia/mania & catatonia [?]. But they have to give you a whole lot of these without any guarantee except the brain injury, before they can even guess at whether your Dep/Schiz/Man & Cat will be effected in ANY positive way. They know the bad stuff but they’re not telling. These guys don’t know the difference between the symptoms of an Organic Brain Syndrome from even other pathologies, much less what’s `normal’. Of course only a few people get that “high” called “concussion euphoria” you see in emergency, though brain damage can also make you apathetic, so you just don’t/can’t care. The rest of you are just “resistant” or bloody minded, and don’t WANT to get well. Of course, your brain WILL heal, to some extent, and the Dep/Schiz/Man & Cat will still be there, so you can do it all over again in about six weeks.
    Oh, and it’s unlikely it’ll be your own doc who uses these things, lots don’t like doing the hands-on dirty work, and some aren’t game because they don’t know enough to not electrocute themselves, (yes there is a warning in the handbook), and wouldn’t know how to find the switch anyway. So the guys who do it don’t know you, will never see you again unless you come back for more, won’t remember you because they’ve never looked at your face, and don’t give a ❉!✸. So they won’t know whether it was “efficacious” or not!”

    • HEART RATE MEASURES, including peak heart rate, a key measure of cerebral seizure duration and quality (Larson, Swartz & Abrams, 1984; Swartz, 1993; 1996; Swartz and Manly, 2000) that reflects the autonomic (brainstem) response to ECT.
    This is supplemented by continuous digital heart rate monitoring for safety and seizure generalization, with the result printed each second. All of the above measures are automatically printed.

    “Interestingly, half the time the machines won’t print this, probably because someone, maybe your arm, or a nurse’s sleeve jiggled the machine so they just don’t know what that might be, it could be well over 130 beats a minute, (normal = 72), but that’s OK, it will drop to around 12 soon after, so I guess it evens out. At 12 it’s unlikely to even get the blood much beyond your heart and lungs, so all that O2, pressure-forced into your lungs ain’t going to your brain, for a while anyway. Still, even if it did, it can’t do much because the huge spike in your Blood Pressure that these machine DON’T record (200- 250+) will rupture your brain cells, spilling fluid, causing swelling, cutting off the tiny vessels going to the brain surface, the cerebrum, so they’ll die anyway. If you have a sufficient number of these “treatments”, enough will die to be seen on scans as “brain atrophy”. Of course they’ll say this is caused by your Depression or if you’re an old woman, by dementia, so it’s your own fault. I’m not sure how they explain how everyone, no matter what they’re diagnosed with, get the same type of long term brain damage, that ONLY ECT patients get, but, hey, these are the experts.”

    • A POWERFUL 32-BIT INTERNAL COMPUTER employs Power Spectral Analysisto process and store up to 10 minutes of digitized EEG for the special features described here. You can send this data to your IBM PC-compatible computer via a rear-panel serial port for further comprehensive EEG analysis, using Somatics’ proprietary GenieTM IV software.1540 OHM 55% !!!!!!★☼😄
    Because each ECT treatment session is STORED IN MEMORY, you can retrieve it if you run out of paper during a treatment–just slip in another pad after the treatment and press a button.

    “Hey, it’s pretty cool that something’s stored in the machine’s memory because there’s not going to be much stored in yours. Nothing about the session or much else & it won’t come back in a few weeks or months either.”

    PATENTED INDEPENDENT SAFETY MONITOR CIRCUIT prevents the patient from receiving an excessive electrical dose regardless of the operation of the regular circuits.

    “Or the operation of the regular operator either, we hope.”
    Unlike simple movement detectors, the Thymatron®System IV’s EMG can measure seizure muscle activity that is not visible to the naked eye, and which typically continues substantially longer than optically-detectable movements (Couture et al, 1988).

    “Great! Someone’s got to do it. I mean, you never know when the needle sticks a bit and it’s a bit hard to regulate the paralyser so sometimes a bit much juice goes in. Of course the discussion about the virtues of one Mercedes over another might be a bit diverting, so it’s great that you can rely on technology. And it can pick up non-motor stuff too. “Status Epilepticus” can result in non-motor convulsions and they’re NOT GOOD for the brain, or breathing either. Usually known as a “medical emergency” in genuine medicine. Of course you’ve got to watch it, which could be a bit tough when you’re showing the pics the South of France hols to the guys.”

    • Because the special computer-automated programs of the Thymatron® System IV are stored on REPLACEABLE MICROCHIPS, updates are easily accomplished on-site via chip replacement. Somatics has already provided 4 advanced microchip upgrades for the System IV including: the ultrabriefmicrochip upgrades for the System IV including: the ultrabrief 0.25 msec pulsewidth program, GenieTM IV computer software, real-time digital EEG monitoring. In comparison, any upgrades to the Mecta spectrum (there have been none) would have required return to the factory.

    “A couple of the young guys MIGHT be able to do this but many haven’t read a manual on anything for years.”

    • The POSTICTAL SUPPRESSION INDEX reports the degree of EEG flattening immediately following the seizure, which correlates with clinical efficacy (Nobler et al, 1993; Krystal & Weiner, 1994; Krystal et al, 1995; Krystal, 1998; Nobler et al,
    2000). A recent study of the Thymatron®’s Postictal Suppression Index found that it significantly differentiated ECT remitters from non-remitters (Petrides et al, 2000). The
    authors concluded: “higher PSI values (more abrupt ending of ictal EEG are correlated with better clinical outcome of ECT in depression”.

    “Post-ictal flattening” means your brain has shut down from exhaustion. The “flatter” the brainwaves get the better. “Flat-lining” is what it’s called in real medicine and it means the brain is dying. Usually it comes back quite quickly, but, all the way? The idea is that the flatter, the longer, the better. That way they know you’ve got a good solid brain injury that gives you the best chance to get the “euphoria & apathy” they call “effectiveness” for the longest time. Maybe a day and a half until the next time. Of course it’s cumulative so with any luck you’ll walk out of the place after 2 -4 – 6- 8 weeks only needing another jolt every week or later on, even a month. For the rest of the year, your life?
    Oh, and is it the EEG, that ends abruptly? It’s just the measuring device. Does it all go on in your head much longer, after the machine runs out of paper? After all, you’re in a coma, so how do they really know?”

    • COMPUTER DETERMINATION AND PRINTOUT OF EEG AND MOTOR SEIZURE DURATIONS. The integral computer EEG analyzer continually measures the EEG and EMG and automatically prints the EEG and motor seizure durations with precision and reliability (Swartz et al, 1994; Krystal et al, 1995).• JUST SET ACCORDING TO AGE AND TREAT. Setting the Thymatron® System IV according to the patient’s age facilitates easy selection of the stimulus charge.

    “Reliably? Not if you look at the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s ECT guidelines booklet. They reckon the things get cranky if someone around moves too much. Like a nurse, or the doc, describing his latest golf swing technique. Or, you, if they can’t work out if you’ve had a fit or not because they can’t work out the EEG recording, so they “cuff” your leg with a blood pressure sleeve. That’s so the paralyser doesn’t get there and you can have a real jerky fit, so they can see it, just like the 1940s. Then they’ll tell you it was the paralyser drug that made you really sore like you’ve run the Melbourne Marathon after a lay-off of ten years because of the depression that never got treated, and you’re the lucky one in a hundred this happens to. The cuffing? They’re not really supposed to do it but, if they don’t understand the science? And nobody’s watching, are they?”

    • Alternatively, RAPID STIMULUS TITRATION is facilitated with the Thymatron® System IV using a simple method-of limits procedure (McCall et al, (Max Fink’s mate)1993 One of the worst researchers around); Rasmussen et al, 1994) that employs research based dose increments: 5, 10, 15, 25, 40, 80, and 100% Energy at your choice of pulsewidth. (see next page for references)

    “This can give you a stroke; massive confusion; permanent memory loss of your life experiences including your education and job skills; loss of all kinds of cognitive abilities including your ability to find your way about; learn new material; reduce your physical coordination like driving your car, playing sport, dancing etc; lower your intellect and ability to organise your life generally; make sensible judgments and the one thing that NONE of these people mention in ANY of their “technical literature”, impact on your emotional state.
    The fear, dehumanisation,, helplessness, humiliation, infantilisation and depersonalisation; the hopelessness when they won’t listen when you say you don’t want it, the sense of betrayal and abandonment that can leave you devastated and so traumatised that, hey! you have another disorder. PTSD! Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    And have a look at the “conflicts of interest” issues; the balance sheets of the private hospitals; the incomes of the performing docs; the alternative treatments offered (drugs) by prescribing docs; the age and sex of the PBPs (Poor Bloody Patients); 70% women and 40% of these over 65; the death rate 1:1000 or less except the elderly 1:200 or worse. (If Childbirth killed this many there’d be uproar.) The efficacy rate =16-46% for 1-6 weeks then back to depression; suicide rates 4-5 times higher than non-ECT treated; survival rates of the very elderly 25% lower over 1 year, 50% lower over 3 years than non-ECT treated; the list is much longer…
    TRY IT!


    • Posted by Truth on July 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Could you forward or repeat this information to two pro-ECT sites that are recommending ECT to the vulnerable and desperately ill. One is a Psychology Today
      article by Julie Hersh who declares ECT is not an ‘electrical lobotomy’ and states it saved her life. I have listed references and responses to her comments which she calls “misinformed” and erroneous.
      The other site is “Jenny’s ECT Diary” where a lovely and articulate blond girl endorses ECT and posts videos about her progress. She is still having maintenance ECT, but is “not doing so well” which, she says means she needs even more or a switch to more power or bilaterals! So after about 40 ECT so far, she is still”sick”. It is the thinking that is reflected by the response to “the drugs are not working, we need to double or triple the dose! It is appalling how many people, encouraged by her videos, have decided to have ECT. Just like people who admire David Healy, who promotes ECT as “safe and effective” with “memory loss as a myth”…


    • Posted by Truth on July 16, 2015 at 2:25 am

      Hi, Deirdre,
      You can find Jenny’s ECT Diary by just googling that and clicking on Facebook, or at https:www.facebook.com/jennysectdiary. She has posted multiple videos at start, 3 month, 6 month and so on. Particularly horrible bc several people say her videos have inspired them to try ECT!
      The other site can be found by googling: “psychology today Hersh ECT” or psychology today: The Shocking Truth About ECT. Julie Hersh wrote “Struck by Living”, a well-written and inspiring book which, unfortunately, credits ECT with “saving her life”. Julie is a mental health advocate who publishes her own blog. She has 5 ECT in 2001 and 7 in 2007, so her exposure was relatively limited. She says most people have a positive experience with ECT and that she is sorry some have “a negative experience”, being the “vocal minority”. She says “ECT done ‘properly’ does NOT cause brain damage”.


      • I found her article – it reads almost word for word like the handouts the APA, RANZCP, RCP and various Shock shop hospitals put out. Lies, euphamisms and diversions mostly. I wonder does she have some kind of affiliation with the establishment in fact? I’ve written a piece and can refute everything she says but I don’t know how to get it into her path as I would like to go toe to toe with her in a public forum like the Psychology Today site. You know the thing, `tell me yours and answer mine’. I’ll see what I can do because people like her have to be stopped. The girl, is out of it – I suggest she’d say whatever she’s told to say. An effect of ECT brain damage is `affable apathy and a lack of initiative leading to compliance and obedience. I saw wards full of people in her condition and once seen, never forgotten. I suspect she is being used, poor little thing, after all a pretty girl can sell almost anything as our society well knows. I’d like to know more about her, family, doctor, hospital etc. It looks really nasty to me. Let’s face it Kitty Dukakis (now with dementia I heard), and Carrie Fisher (who exhibits many signs of frontal lobe brain damage) have been trotted out as examples of the `miracle of ECT’ for years, and what a cynical exercise that was. It happened here too, an obviously severely brain damaged woman was presented as the face of the wonders of ECT. I nearly threw up. We need to find out what is happening to this young woman and who is behind it.

      • Posted by Truth on July 16, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        Thank-you for the response. If you click on the comments after Hersh’s article, you will see that she deleted my original post, saying it was full of “misinformation”. Then she insisted that ECT was certainly not a “electrical lobotomy” and stated she would leave my posts up and just state in advance that my information is erroneous. I posted another three comments with references
        supporting my comments. No more response from her, but Julie Greene chimed in with her “ECT turned me into a basket case”comments. Then another person who supports ECT and presented at the Jan. hearings of the FDA in 2011 regarding shock, posted her refutation of my comments and then listed references like Weiner and Sackeim, etc. I challenged that; you may have read what I said and now there has been a deafening silence and no more from either. I do give Ms. Hersh credit for not just deleting the post. She actually seems like a very smart, sincere, and thoughtful person and I loved her book, but for the ECT. She and her husband are philanthropists who have donated millions to various worthwhile causes. I think she is a board member on ISEN, The International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation so this is something she truly believes in.

        As for Jenny, did you watch any of her videos, at 3 months and 20? She seems to have bought in to wellness through head concussion and electricity- but doesn’t seem to realize she is still “doing really, really badly” after a pile of ECT “treatments” and maintenance ECT.

        Did you have a chance to read Bonnie Burstow’s latest ECT MIA post? It had only 23 posts versus the 90+ for articles related to drugs and psychiatry. Not as many people seem to care about ECT.
        Off the topic of ECT, did you have a chance to watch Elizabeth Kenney’s TED talk, entitled Sick? Very powerful. Given her experience, she was lucky she did not end up being shocked. Good her mom had her back,

  72. Hi
    I just wanted to leave a couple of comments about this whole ect subject! First of all I’m 37 yrs old now but I started getting siezures about 15 yrs ago and they were full blown siezures which I destroyed my body I broke more than ten bones and dislocated my jawbone , and my arms more then 15 times which I need surgery on my shoulders and my knees !! I can go on and on but about 8 to 9 yrs ago I was trying anything to stop these siezures and my depression so I started ECT’S !! HUGE HUGE MISTAKE IT MADE MY SIEZURES WORSE AND MY MEMORY IS ZIP ,ZERO! I CAN BARELY REMEMBER WHAT I ATE LAST OR ANY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES !! THOSE ECTS RUINED MY LIFE AND I WOULDNT RECOMEND THIS TO A RAT !!!!!!!! Now my life is totally is a pain in the ass with siezures and taken a shit load of meds! But if u r considering ECTS , don’t do it please!!!!! I’m being so sincere and just trying to help you out !!


  73. Posted by Amanda Leader on May 16, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I want to talk about my Ect 1978 but I’m really tired so hope I find the Web site again it’s horrific what happened and the damage that was done please get back to me thank you


  74. Posted by Barbara on June 9, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    ECT ruined my life!! It’s been 3 years. It turned out to be the WORST thing I could have done to myself, or allow a Dr. to talk me into. Not worth it one bit!! I’d rather be the way I was than the way I am now…..


  75. Posted by Kate on July 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    As a woman who received 7 rounds of bilateral ect in oct-Dec 14, i can say that it has very much affected me. I can’t find the words. I can’t add the same. I forgot a lot of things that happened around time it happened and before. I forget easily new stuff. I lose things a lot. After the 7 rounds I had a near fatal attempt of suicide. I was on a respirator and in ICU. I overdosed on Klonopin and alchohol almost successfully. This was directly after the treatments. It did not help me. now I feel completely stupid. I don’t remember things and feel very disconnected.
    People who say it is “better’ now need to ask themselves a question. In order to overcome the anti-seizure properties of the drugs to sedate us during treatment, they have to use more volts than in the 30’s. So we get more juice. Please stop saying it is better now. It isn’t. I regret it and never again.


  76. Posted by Ryan on July 30, 2015 at 4:20 am

    I noticed that all of your citations are dated more than 30 years ago. Electroconvulsive therapy has changed dramatically in that time and your evidence and claims are hugely outdated. Being a patient myself of ECT, i can attest to absolutely no side effects from the treatment other than nausea from the anesthesia. On top of that, the treatment has reduced my depressive symptoms to nearly non-existent. I’d also like to say that before every single procedure i have to sign an informed consent. If i DO NOT SIGN that paper, legally the team of doctors can’t touch me. This blog is so erroneous it makes me laugh.


  77. Posted by deeeo42d on July 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Sadly, you do not appear to gave read this blog or you would have seen the testimony of dozens of people who have NOT only not had a positive experience but have suffered HUGELY as a consequence of electroshock.
    As an Electroshock survivor from the 2000s and a former psych nurse from the 70s I’m here to tell you that ECT has BARELY changed at all since the 1950s when the first modifications were introduced. Anaesthetics and paralysing drugs were introduced in the 1950s, over 60 years ago, not to stop brain damage but to stop the litigation over fractures caused by the violent fits. This meant that the BODY stopped convulsing but did nothing for the brain seizure. This was, in fact, made worse because the drugs raised the seizure threshold and more power had to be used to get the same effect, BRAIN DAMAGE. Another claim that is a supposed `improvement’ is the `square pulse machines’, 1st Brief Pulse, now Ultra Brief Pulse. Brief Pulse was invented in 1946, and failed, nearly 70 years ago, Ultra Brief pulse arrived in the 1960s, 50 years ago. And the `new’ electrode placements, e.g. Unilateral ECT, was first suggested in the 1940s, 60+ years ago, first used in the hospital where I worked in Australia by 1970, 45 years ago.
    Far from any DRAMATIC CHANGES, THERE HAVE BEEN NO REAL CHANGES IN ELECTROCONVULSIVE `THERAPY’ FOR OVER 40 YEARS! With ONE exception. The power used until the 2000s was under 200 volts for one second – NOW the voltage is 225 to 460 volts for 8 seconds.
    In most countries people sign consent to a series of treatments, typically 6 or as now in Victoria, Australia, 12. Whilst withdrawal of consent is legally available to voluntary patients, 35 out of every hundred are forced, by law, to receive it whether they like it or not. Another problem occurs when a person DOES withdraw consent, they are frequently subjected to threats of being made involuntary (meaning losing most of their human rights until they are obedient), actually being made involuntary, bullying, coercion and manipulation by doctors, nurses, family members until they agree. Rarely, if ever, is anyone informed of the likelihood of permanent brain damage as you apparently weren’t, so their consent is UNINFORMED.
    Though it is true in theory that if a voluntary/private patient has not signed legal consent they may not be touched (assault and battery), in fact, staff frequently pull people to their feet, push/drag them through doors and, in my case, I put my hands over my head and begged them not to do it and had my arms pulled away as they went ahead.
    Now let’s look at some more citations: Sackheim 2007 -All types of ECT cause permanent cognitive/memory damage; Read & Bentall 2010 – No evidence exists that Real ECT is any better than Placebo; Perrin 2012 – Scans show ECT cause brain `changes’ in ALL subjects; Munk-Olsen 2007 – Suicides 5 times MORE likely with ECT; Breggin 2014 – ECT causes severe and permanent brain damage; Kellner 2015 – `we have to rethink that ECT doesn’t cause brain damage because we can SEE it in scans’; and the voices of thousands of victims including little children whose lives are ruined daily.
    I have been diagnosed with an Acquired Brain Injury and go into neurological rehab next week-I have never had ANY brain injury except that from ECT.
    .Another sad effect of Electroshock, as in any other head injury, is the lack of awareness of deficits, called Anosognosia in which many people who suffer a certain disability seem unaware of the existence of his or her disability. It results from physiological damage to brain structures, typically to the parietal lobe or a diffuse lesion on the fronto-temporal-parietal area in the right hemisphere, exactly the area of the brain impacted by Electroshock. They may experience changes to their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, thinking and learning and be unaware of it. Other signs of brain damage include `emotional blunting’, intolerance, verbal outbursts, poor judgment and disinhibition, lack of empathy and severe retrograde autobiographical memory loss especially for the time around the injury.
    I hope you do have a good outcome but I have the impression that your ECT is fairly recent and I urge you to hold your judgment for a few months, I also urge you not to make blanket statements based on your experience alone, check your history, current information from ALL sources and try to have some respect for those whose experience is SO different from your own.


  78. Posted by deeeo42d on August 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I liked your response to the Hersh article, very professional, and I posted a long response explaining why she won’t believe it. Like the old man who saw an elephant and said, `I don’t believe it.’ Here’s a bit of it…science, once `buried’, manipulated (altered), and decried is now available in its true form, the public will increasingly be informed and the PR mill will have to move quickly to save their billion dollar industry. Consequently two things have emerged, `studies’ to show that brain damage is a good thing (see 1938 and now – do they not know their history or do they think we don’t?), and to recruit `happy and satisfied’ customers as advocates.
    I won’t go on about the science because that has already been done well. What I do want to do is examine the claims and behaviour of ECT ‘s `happy customers’.
    When reading or listening to their presentation, one might be forgiven for wondering if they are, if not actually employed by establishment psychiatry, then held in thrall, duped or manipulated by it. Or is it the consequence of their TBIs that is being used, e.g. compliance and loss of critical intellect, meaning they are highly suggestible. There is a sameness in the repetition of the establishment position almost word for word, and reacting to criticism by implying that those who don’t support them are misguided failures (insult the messenger); by claiming an `evidence base’ but never offering details, and repeating self-annotated anecdotes in a nice folksy style that can be very convincing.
    There are several related factors in action here, anosognosia, `cognitive dissonance’, the `true believer’ syndrome, and `confirmation bias’ among them. I believe some, if not all of these people actually believe their claims, the damage they have suffered has robbed them of insight.
    In using past recipients of ECT as advocates, the industry must be aware that, as in any other head injury, there is often a lack of awareness of deficits. It is called Anosognosia in which many people who suffer a certain disability seem unaware of the existence of this disability. It typically results from physiological damage to the parietal lobe or a diffuse lesion on the fronto-temporal-parietal area in the right hemisphere, exactly the area of the brain impacted by Electroshock. They may experience changes to their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, thinking and learning and be unaware of it. The memory loss that is virtually universal after ECT can lead to the manufacturing of memories to fill the vacant spaces called confabulation. In suggestible people these are likely to be complementary to those making the suggestions.
    The other major factor at work here is cognitive dissonance. This is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individuals confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance-disharmony) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance, in —as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.
    Therefore people will engage in a process called dissonance reduction to bring their cognitions, or understandings, and actions in line with one another, frequently denial which allows for a lessening of psychological tension and distress. In cognitive dissonance the more one invests in a belief, the more value one will place in this belief and, as a consequence, be more resistant to facts, evidence or reality that contradict this belief. A completely understandable avoidance of pain but, to me not an ACCEPTABLE one. Putting people at risk for permanent harm is not a fair trade-off for self-esteem.
    Another factor at work is the `True-believer syndrome’ which examines the phenomenon whereby no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary.” (Witness `Creationism’) No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.”
    Again, `confirmation bias’ which contributes to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain beliefs after the evidence for them is shown to be false. This is contrary to scientific thinking which is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence.
    Some of these people are `good’ people, they truly believe they are doing a public service. BUT, they are advocating a destructive practice that has been shown to be UNNECESSARY. Over 75% of ALL psychiatrists in the world DO NOT EVER PRESCRIBE ECT. Several countries have banned it totally, others have severe restrictions on its use and its use is in decline. in many others. Interestingly its use is increasing in the developed world only in the private, for profit, psychiatric hospitals.
    I believe advocates like Hersh and others are intrinsically dangerous as advocates. They have very restricted scientific and medical knowledge and even more limited insight, which means as a consequence, despite good intentions, they may be leading many unwary, vulnerable people into a potentially devastating and life shattering decision.
    My fear is that some, if not ALL of these advocates are being manipulated by some very cynical people who have their own agenda. Using OBVIOUSLY brain-injured, young, and/or vulnerable and un-knowing people to sell an inherently destructive product is despicable and there is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for doing it. (There is a category in the DSM for people like this: manipulative, lacking empathy, remorse or guilt, callous, contemptuous of the feelings, rights and suffering of others, emotionally cold/shallow, but self-assured, superficially charming and verbally facile especially with jargon to impress someone who is unfamiliar with the subject. I can name a few ECT psychiatrists who fit this description).

    EVERY ECT TREATMENT IS A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY. Every one renders the person unconscious – every one results in confusion and memory loss just as concussive injury from any other source does, SO BE VERY CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU RECOMMEND!
    I doubt she’ll believe it’s her though she might just concede she knows someone like that, though not re ECT.
    Keep the good fight going – we WILL win- it’s just a matter of time.


  79. The UK government has reinstated e-petitions online after the election.
    Please sign this ‘Abolish ECT’ e-petition and relegate this barbaric ‘treatment’ to the history pages along with lobotomy. We need 100,000 signatures to get it debated in parliament.
    To sign an e-petition, you must be either:
    • a citizen of the UK
    • a resident in the UK (you normally live in the UK)
    It only takes a minute! Please pass this on.
    Thank you for your help.


  80. Posted by deeeo42d on August 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I just posted this on David Healy’s site `Lost in Medication – The Crusoe report. I have a real problem with this guy. I’ve used his own words to show his inconsistency with ECT. His stuff is in quotes.
    Let’s look at this discourse of yours Dr Healy,
    Drugs have come lately to psychiatry. What you lay out below existed long ago, has always existed in psychiatry. “We are being told forget our ability to produce knowledge – to produce medicines. (treatments) They have put us through a machine that erases any inconvenient observations we may have. Our only role now is to consume whatever they give us and to swallow without question the information they provide with them. We have been made into consumers; we are no longer seen as producers.
    The hypnosis is pretty dense.”…In psychiatry the inconvenient has always been set aside such that in spite of the fact that in ECT studies placebo is always equal to or superior to `real; memory/cognitive damage is recorded as serious and permanent; cell death is recorded in scans in ALL subjects; and only16-46% get ANY relief and that for under 4 weeks, there is NO critical analysis from the profession.
    What may not be recorded with drugs IS recorded for ECT, Dr Healy, but this seems to remain unnoticed by you. You say…”many of these trialists are third raters you wouldn’t want to be treated by. To this day we don’t know how many of us return to normal sexually or emotionally after taking an SSRI even just for the 6 weeks of a trial.”…But we DO know that virtually nobody returns to normal functioning following ECT as evidenced by neuropsychological testing and current day MRI scans…”So when your son or daughter (or in ECT, mother, grandmother or child as well) rocks up to a doctor (visiting is too twentieth century) with the disturbing information that they have stopped functioning,”…slowed down, can’t learn, have forgotten years, decades of their lives, their education, their families, skills and talents, will you check the product label/literature including your own books and articles and not finding anything (you)…”like there,”…will you tell them…”it’s all in the mind, or this is their depression speaking.”
    No… “the more they protest, the firmer the noose of neurosis will tighten around their neck.
    If you were in one of these trials where your attention was diverted away from the effects of this”…treatment on your memory for instance, or when…”you tried to make an observation the doctor didn’t record it, the fact that you took risks in a trial for the benefit of your family and friends and community is now being used to skewer your family and friends, just as surely as your work in a lead smelter for most of the twentieth century poisoned any family or friends you had living nearby.”
    Consistency? Dr Healy.
    I add here, Your own cognitive dissonance and intellectual honesty must surely be questioned.


    • Posted by Truth on August 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      I was about to post a very similar set of comments to the Mad in America site when I checked this site for updates! I admire your perseverance and your ability to support your reflections and arguments with detailed research citing numerous authors and studies.

      It is amazing that Healy has not blocked your comments. He has deleted every one of my responses which point out his hypocrisy and failure, as a medical researcher, to address the abundant historical and present day evidence regarding the traumatic assault/ closed head injury known as ECT. I think I was painted as a “troll” seeking to derail his dialogue or agenda. I read his comment that those who wished to “chase this thread” ( his stance on ECT) should check “academic stalking” on his blog site. How old is this? No changes, no realizations have dawned on him during the last several years? He is both blind and stubborn and unaware of what integrity and “first do no harm” mean??

      Before I was blocked, I actually received an e-mail from Healy explaining that he administers the “treatment” (hilarious to call it that)
      competently and gives it only to those “who will benefit” after being certain they have given “informed consent”.
      I guess he relies on his crystal ball and ability to see the future to help him determine who will benefit. And this is rather stupid since no one benefits for any longer than 4 weeks, during which time they are walking around in a state of euphoria or confusion as a result of multiple closed head injuries resulting from their “electrical lobotomies”.

      He pointed out that ECT will “always exist” so it is a good thing he is in charge at his ECT clinic because he has “reduced” the number of ECT
      and does the job with finesse! ( Would someone who “reduced” the number of people getting lobotomies be praise worthy?)
      I guess it is just “bad luck” if the ECT doctor is careless and lacking in finesse. I pointed out that the “outcomes” of ECT
      are completely unpredictable, except for the fact that 100% of the “consumers” will suffer brain damage, just to varying degrees. I asked if he specifically warned his patients about the risks of brain damage, permanent amnesia that could eliminate 10-20 years of memory and loss of skill sets required in their jobs. No response from Dave.

      He did offer up an analogy related to Oscar Schindler who did some awful things, but was seen as a hero who saved many Jewish lives. I wonder of he perceives himself as the Oscar Schindler of ECT?
      He mentions how important it is to have a “good” relationship with the doctor treating you. I suggested some patients foolishly believed they had a good relationship with their doctor and “trusted” him, only to end up brain-damaged.
      I just cannot see how he keeps a straight face while stating that the “memory loss” ECT patients report
      ( which is strictly anecdotal and usually dismissed by the doctors) can possibly be attributed to the benzos and antipsychotics they were taking or their “depression”! Ludicrous.
      (He readily accepts the testimonies of patients who have been injured by drugs but refuses to legitimize the complaints of patients destroyed and injured by ECT.)
      I hope you post your comments to the MIA site, possibly with a challenge or request that Healy present his 2015 update on how he views ECT and how he can deny the science and evidence of the irreversible harm it does to the patient and his/her loved ones.
      I see you have asked him who the real David Healy is without any answer or rebuttal from him regarding your statements and questions. I guess he will never be pinned down or feel obligated to defend his stance on the basis of evidence and science.


      • Posted by Truth on August 6, 2015 at 4:32 am

        Well, I am surprised to see Healy’s response to your post without your post being printed!
        He again makes mention of those pesky benzos and antipsychotics causing the brain damage and memory loss and how it is difficult to tease out what can be attributed to ECT. What kind of denial is this??
        He says there are no animal studies or scans that point to brain damage linked to ECT and speaks of many people he knows who have benefitted from the “procedure”. He points out that he helped Linda Andre get her book “Doctors of Deception” published, but he seems to reject or dismiss her claims of memory loss and a 40 point drop in her IQ. She had NO drug history that would confound the results and was “treated” at a state of the art facility with modern ECT. It seems that he helped to get her book published but rejects the research and evidence she presents that points to the destructive and disabling nature of shock.
        So “drug injured” patients are to be believed, but ECT injured patients lack insight and cannot be counted on to identify the source of their damage. He STILL advocates for this bogus lunatic assault on sick and vulnerable people. I am perplexed.

  81. Posted by deeeo42d on August 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I haven’t seen that post. I’ll have to track it down. Of course the brain damage preceded the drugs and as an historian he would be well aware of that. As for no animal studies? What planet is he from? Hartelius (1952) did one of the best, most rigorous, well designed studies in psychiatry, the Russians (1970s) did more, and a recent one ALL showed the same damage. And PERRIN 2012 did a small study that absolutely demonstrated via before and after MRI studies that clearly showed structural `changes’ in ALL subjects that could only have been caused by ECT! He was very proud of that and claimed it was a good thing! HE SUGGESTED THAT PEOPLE HAD TOO MANY CONNECTIONS IN THE BRAIN AND THAT WAS WHY THEY WERE DEPRESSED AND THAT WAS WHY SOME OF THEM HAD TO BE DESTROYED! You can find this theory in the 1938+ explanations of why brain damage was a good thing. I thought we’d moved on, but there you are. Also it’s clear that the good Dr Healy hasn’t noticed Charlie Kellner’s little article posted in the Psychiatric Times in January this year, that because of the wonderful detail we can now see in MRI scans, we might have to re-think our claim that ECT doesn’t cause structural brain damage.’ OOPS! Mind you he tries to claim it’s a good thing too, but he has some vested interests, he’s head of Mt Sinai ECT in New York and a long time hero of ECT. Healy I’m afraid, is suffering severely from cogitive dissonance I fear. He has a vested interest in self esteem and ego, much harder to overcome.
    I have other reservation about Healy, even with the drugs campaign. He seems to thoroughly enjoy being a beleaguered messiah and is very keen to publish all his tribulations at the hands of the establishment. A clear case of `look at me, look at me.’ In fact, the groundwork for everything he’s done was around before he got onto the wagon. Breggin, Kirsch, and Whitaker among others were there first. His claim that he helped Linda Andre is spurious. I have a record of the conversation he had with her so I’ll check it out and see what we see.


    • Posted by Truth on August 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Just commented on Healy’s comments
      defending the use of ECT. It is being “moderated” as I type. My bet is that he removes it immediately. If you want to read it, you probably have 10 minutes before he condems it to the
      trash bin. I hope you reply to his reply to you!


    • Posted by Truth on August 9, 2015 at 8:52 am

      I wrote a very detailed comment that addressed all his claims, citing studies, anecdotal reports, my own experience, Linda Andre’s book. I suggested his rejection of the evidence, and cognitive dissonance regarding shock needs to be addressed. He deleted my comment! I guess I should not have brought up examples of outright manipulation and lying about ECT. I said, yes ECT does NOT cause brain damage, just like those priests did not molest those children, Bill Cosby did not assault all those women, Bill Clinton did not sleep with that woman. Deny and censor seems to be how he reacts to any reasonable challenge of lunatic brain-disabling ECT. Reminds me how much more I admire and respect Peter Breggin who has spent most of his life fighting psychiatric drugs and ECT. Dave will not see the giant elephant in the room; no one can make him. I look at his co-author, Eddie Shorter, who calls ECT the “penicillin” of psychiatry, advocating ECT for adolescents and my blood runs cold. What motivates these kind of people?? Do they have a giant ego and cannot admit they are wrong? Are they lacking the observational and research skills to correctly interpret the evidence about ECT and brain damage in the form of amnesia and ECT??
      How are they not embarrassed when they try to pin ECT damage on to those pesky benzos, anti-psychotics, and anti-depressants?? I continue being perplexed and appalled at this kind of behavior. A village idiot can see the truth about ECT, but these “educated” men cannot?


      • Posted by deeeo42d on August 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        The Curia is stacked with extremely well educated men who believe the Pope is infallible. Education has little to do with belief. The ISSUE with Healy is that he trashes the belief system re drugs but genuflects to the myths re ECT. The TROUBLE with Healy is his enormous clout. He is a MESSIAH to so many people, something he thoroughly enjoys. As an old actress I can recognise a fellow `ham’ from miles away. In psychological terms what we all, ham actors especially, crave `stroking’. EGO stroking. Healy gets a lot. His `wounded hero’ is a classic strong dramatic figure, Jesus being perhaps the best known. Literature, drama and politics are full of them. As a writer all my heroes were put upon, persecuted, righteous and honorable people who win out against their evil opponents in the end. (see James Bond et al). Healy cannot allow himself to be seen to be wrong. Sadly he doesn’t seem to realise that he would gain an even larger following of adoring sycophants if he admitted it, people are always willing to forgive a flawed hero if he is willing to face his flaws and change them. I wonder if his `flaw’ is not so much clinging to false beliefs (known as delusions if you’ve got a diagnosis), but his lack of insight and humility. All the truly great heroes have both. I imagine Healy doesn’t have much time to read philosophy, or even basic psychology. Pity.
        Another thing is that he is not original. It’s all been done before. His first book came out in 2004, `Let them Eat Prozac’, Breggin’s `Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain’ was written in 1983 and he continued with `Toxic Psychiatry’ 1991, `Talking Back to Prozac’ 1994, `Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry 1997, and `Talking Back to Ritalin‘ 2001. Robert Whitaker brought out `Mad in America’ in 2002 and by 2004 we also had Marcia Angell, Joe Abramson, Joe Kassirer and Moynihan all producing in the same field. Before Pharmageddon appeared in 2013, Joanna Moncrieff had 2 books out and Kirsch, (who worked with Breggin exposing SSRIs in the 1990s), Burstow, Greenberg and Frances Allen, with Whitaker & Breggin’s latest, had all been published. I don’t think any of these, other than Breggin, and Healy have pursued a high profile career in the media.
        That said, there is a place for the grandstanders, they are the force that attracts attention. But the assumption of the messianic mantle is difficult when your feet of clay are so very obvious.

  82. David Healy on Mad in America website http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/08/lost-in-medication/ if you want to comment


  83. Posted by deeeo42d on August 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Cheryl. You can see my comment on the Mad in America website. It’s a repeat of the one I sent to his blog. I am thinking of posting his reply, for respond he did, and my response to THAT.


    • Posted by Truth on August 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Deirdre, you are a sweetheart and a gem. I love your take no prisoners or bust their balls approach to dealing with those who would mislead and obfuscate, lying, ducking, dodging, as they attempt to shore up their dangerous and indefensible position regarding ECT. I love the psychological profile you have suggested related to Healy, his character and motivation. I believe the comments about ego stroking, lack of insight and humility, and refusal to admit he is wrong largely explain his stance on ECT.

      I am impressed that you were able to “flush Healy out”, causing him to reply to your assertions, something I have had little success doing because he immediately deleted my “comments” on his own blog, applying total censorship to anything I had to say. I was left peeved and with no recourse, a goldfish gasping for air.

      You write beautifully. I would guess your ability to do this would suggest to Healy that you obviously suffered no brain damage or cognitive dysfunction after being shocked
      86 times!! I think he implied the same when he pointed out that Linda Andre was able to write and publish a book, so it appeared unlikely she had been damaged by ECT.

      Keep up the good fight to protect the anguished, the vulnerable, the innocent. We must make the world a better and safer place for our grandchildren.


    • Posted by Truth on August 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      I would greatly appreciate you posting his response and your reflection on what he says. You have the research background and lived experience necessary to confront this individual, punch holes in his rationalizations, question his integrity, and emphasize the degree of denial and cognitive dissonance he displays. Is it arrogance,
      ego or indifference that allows him to make such ridiculous, false statements about shock, shoring up his sad and dangerous position with references to those who have been “helped” or received zero benefit, while ignoring the people who were brain damaged and devastated. He and Eddie Shorter have their names on a book that refers to memory loss resulting from ECT as an “urban myth”.
      If he states even one more time his view that benzos, anti-psychotics, and anti-depressants are responsible for damage patients clearly ascribe to ECT, I may have to scream. Perhaps he should question or challenge those people who claim they experienced mania, or hostility, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts when they were ingesting psychiatric drugs. Maybe they all drank some bad water or ate nasty vegetables that would make it difficult to “tease out” the actual cause of their bad reactions….


  84. Posted by deeeo42d on August 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    87 times. Thanks for your kind words but you have all the science and more than I have, maybe that’s why he shuts you down. Or maybe because he knows you have international clout, either way he betrays himself, doesn’t he? If it’s not important, why censor it? If he really believes what you’re saying is rubbish, he should sneer and say “see, a ratbag loony,’ out to discredit yours truly, the reasonable, scientific hero.” That’s how to disable you. That’s what good PR and good propaganda does, perhaps he should employ a professional.
    But, yes I’m surprised he responded. He did once before and pointed me at his conversation with Linda Andre believing that I would see how, what, he helped an enemy? Persuaded her to see his POV? I don’t know, because all it did was chill me to the bone. Linda believed he had significant ulterior motives, and she’s a very astute lady. There was no altruism there.
    There are personality traits that throw up the kind of confusion Healy generates. First he is charming, charismatic, clever and articulate. If it wasn’t for his attitude to ECT all this would be absolutely fantastic. BUT if you include the ECT issue he comes across as glib, manipulative and dishonest, using his intellectual gifts and charm to disguise a cold, arrogant, narcissistic and fundamentally empty soul. I think David Healy has a least some elements of this kind of personality and I think he is a very dangerous man. Interestingly, perhaps because he has no reason to believe I am any danger to him, (even in a personal sense), he didn’t hide it nearly as well as he usually does.
    I have long had an interest in this kind of person, and while it is often difficult to identify them, it’s the inconsistencies, often extremely subtle, and the resulting confusion they cause in me that alerts me, and my antennae has always vibrated around David Healy. I once wrote a mildly successful play that involved such a one just BEFORE she tips over.
    Sadly he has all the influence, at least for now.


  85. Posted by deeeo42d on August 11, 2015 at 9:01 am



  86. Posted by deeeo42d on August 11, 2015 at 9:02 am

    What a lot of wonderful material. Oh, what a tangled web….


  87. Posted by Truth on August 12, 2015 at 3:37 am

    O MY GOD, Deirdre!! We have been referenced in Healy’s blog!! As nasty, misguided individuals who are “attacking” him and have no insight about research and medicine.

    Let’s see, Andre’s book was apparently “not meticulously researched” and NO ONE has ever been given ECT without being on drugs, even though Linda Andre SPECIFICALLY states she was drug naive previous to being brain damaged by ECT.

    I guess it is that old “guns don’t kill people”, “people kill people”. ECT doesn’t brain damage people, doctors brain damage people.

    This persecution theme sounds familiar.


    • Posted by deeeo42d on August 16, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      I just posted this on Healy’s blog and intend to post similar on MIA if possible.To continue to answer Dr Healy’s challenge:
      I was not aware that Dr Crusoe isn’t David Healy, but why didn’t you mention that before now? I have no brief with `Crusoe’, I find her observations interesting and insightful and enjoy reading them. I merely pointed out the inconsistencies inherent in your attitude to ECT vs the principles Crusoe writes of.
      I also have no issue with your stance on the drug issues in medicine generally and psychiatry specifically. Like so many, I applaud your `clear-eyed analysis’ and `meticulous research’ and anyone reading your blog in the past will see several posts by me where I say this. I also understand that the neuroleptics have a place, albeit far less than currently used.
      I am bewildered as are many others by your attitude to ECT, NOT whether you should ban it or anything else. As you continually say, your aim is to `get the hazards known’. In the drug arena, you and many others with the same brief are working hard to do this. People like Peter Breggin who has published in 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2008; Whitaker, 2002, 2010, 2015, Angell, Abramson and you, 2004, Moynihan and Kassirer 2005. Then the later works of Moncrieff, Kirsch, Greenberg and Allen that precede or are contemporary with Pharmageddon. The difference appears that many of these seriously query ECT as well and you wrote a book praising it.
      Interestingly, Peter Breggin, who has written of drug cover-ups for over 35 years, and who, with Irving Kirsch, (The Emperor’s New Drugs, 2009) exposed the cover-up of the suicidal effects of SSRIs in 1998, has also exposed ECT as a destructive, ineffective and ultimately unnecessary procedure, has until recently never suggested it be banned. He always maintained that people should be fully informed of its risks. Now he considers that due to the persisting refusal of psychiatrists to acknowledge those risks, it should be banned entirely.
      If we look at Thalidomide, we see a drug that held few risks for men, women not of childbearing age or who were unlikely to become pregnant, e.g. nuns. The risks were, however that not every prescriber would adhere to even very rigid guidelines, so it had to go.
      In your ECT unit Dr Healy, are you sure that only those who `need’ ECT get it? Who decides who `needs’ ECT? Given your beliefs regarding brain damage, are you sure people ARE fully informed? Are you even sure they’re not agreeing to it to please you, their own doctor, the nurses, their family? Do you ask them of they think it might kill them (euthanasia), or are they merely acquiescent, accepting anything, believing they deserve punishment (Johnstone 1999), i.e. the symptoms of their depression being the basis of their decision? Are you sure they haven’t been threatened and coerced by the nurses, their doctor or their family?
      The opportunities for abuse are legion and very common, and coupled with lack of complete disclosure of risks, I suggest that nobody ever gives free informed consent. In some countries ECT is brutal, without `modern’ refinements and is used indiscriminately for many purposes far from any pretense of `therapy’, e.g. for political and social dissidence, punishment, behaviour control and such spurious `treatments’ as `excessive use of video games’. Considering its potential for permanent brain damage, poor efficacy (30-46% for weeks rather than months Prudic 2004) and that up to 80% of doctors and several countries don’t see that it’s necessary at all, perhaps a complete ban is the only humane option.
      That ECT harms far fewer people than do neuroleptics is making a judgment about harm based on numbers. A drug was recently withdrawn because one person in a thousand might die from it. The problem was that it was impossible to predict who that might be. ECT harms at least half a million people a year. At what point is harm acceptable?
      Max Fink has indeed always claimed openly and without guile that ECT causes brain injury, `it wouldn’t work if it didn’t’, and he was removed from a court case recently because he embarrassed his colleagues by repeating it in court. He also dismissed those who complained of memory loss by describing them as “malcontents who have nothing better to do than sit round complaining all day”. These were vulnerable people who were his patients. Kellner’s `openness’ has only occurred when the `possibility’ of revealing scans is a fait accompli. However, as an historian you are well aware of the fact that ECT was DESIGNED to `disable the brain’, that it was the last, most reliable, and `CHEAPEST’ way of doing it. The cover-up started after Insulin coma `therapy’, unreliable, often deadly and EXPENSIVE was discarded in the 1960s. It too, however, `helped some people’.
      ECT cleared beds in overstretched hospitals, disabled complainants and, with the growth of the private psychiatric hospital system in the 1970s, made money. It had to stay, so the PR spin machine took over. The designers and manufacturers of the machines became the major researchers, their associates published reviews, (at times scientifically and ethically compromised); they took up powerful positions in the guilds, in universities, on editorial boards and government bodies, and have made a lot of money.
      I have read Linda Andre’s book, and Bonnie Burstow’s several works, including `The Business of Madness’. I have also read Robert Whitaker’s and Peter Breggin’s works along with my friend Rebekah Beddoe’s book, `Dying for a Cure. (She has issues even with the small number of ECT treatments she had). Then there are a large number of papers. a few of which are: Read & Bentall (2010), Colin Ross (2006), Robertson & Pryor (2007), Richard Warner 2003, Sackheim 2007, Prudic 2004, plus, plus. We also should add the works on the adverse emotional effects, so well described in a recent post on your blog, Johnstone 1999, Rose 2004, Van Daarlen-Smith 2011. As Angela Gilchrist says `how could anything so terrifying possibly be therapeutic?”
      I don’t need to go blow by blow into the research as this has been done and I’ve already mentioned enough names. but I find it interesting that you debunk the evidence for damage then admit that nobody denies it. In fact you’ve consistently denied it since this debate began. I support the recent post by Maggie Macdonald that very few ECT recipients have a long history of benzo use and many people who report cognitive damage following ECT have had little experience of antidepressants or antipsychotics. Of course the damage from the drugs must compound that of ECT and the question remains, how do we justify increasing the risk?
      Finally I will just state the facts as they stand:
      A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sufficient external force is applied to the head that disrupts normal function of the brain. This may or may not result in unconsciousness, however he greater the period of unconsciousness, the greater the injury.
      ECT renders ALL recipients unconscious with the application of an external force. The resulting seizure indicates severe disruption to normal function. Therefore ECT causes a Traumatic Brain Injury. (TBI)
      TBIs commonly causes residual memory, cognitive, personality dysfunction that is likely to be permanent, and increases in severity with further injury.
      Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury is caused when a further injury occurs before the first has healed. This is commonly considered to be after two to four weeks.
      ECT usually causes a TBI twice to three times a week for at least two weeks and may continue routinely for six weeks, i.e. From 6 -20+ consecutive TBIs. Therefore ECT causes repetitive TBI.
      Once we substitute TBI for ECT we can see what is the real aftermath of ECT. Most of it is never seen by the psychiatric treating medical team, and a recent study showed that brain cell death continues for weeks following brain injury, long after the person has left the hospital. Problems mentioned later by the person and/or their relatives are blamed on the illness therefore often leading to further treatment, as spoken of by Dr Crusoe re drugs which triggered this entire debate.
      TBI causes:
      Post Concussion Syndrome (TBI) which includes memory loss, impaired concentration, attention disorders, mood swings, heightened arousal, personality problems, fatigue, and diminished IQ, etc. These are symptomatic of a neurological disorder that is caused by brain injury due to head injury.  Often the effects of head injuries are not immediately apparent.  Many months may go by before such changes become apparent.
      Predisposition to early, or earlier onset dementia.
      Cognitive impairment among severely head-injured patients includes memory loss, characterized by some loss of specific memories and the partial inability to form or store new ones.
      Injury to the frontal lobes of the brain that can affect the area of the brain that normally controls impulses.
      Loss the ability to see the world from another person’s perspective, a very complex cognitive skill.
      Lack of self awareness, anger, depression, fatigue and reduced social skills
      Loss of communication difficulties that are not realised until people are in stressful situations such as returning to work or study.
      These are sophisticated mental skills that occur in the frontal lobes of the brain, the area damaged by ECT. All of this can occur after a single TBI.
      Personality changes may cause serious disruptions in family and social life. Doctors, friends may not believe the family when they talk about the difficulties of the new personality they are facing.
      These are the FACTS. How anyone wants to view them is up to them.
      If people believe that because I disagree, or even deplore Dr Healy’s attitude to ECT, I am `vilifying’ him in all things, then so be it. I have no personal issue with David Healy. I have a problem when people with power are careless with that power, but I have no axe to grind, no personal benefits, no vested interests, no aim other than to save people from the damage that I have seen and experienced.
      My understanding is that the true scientist welcomes criticism because science is a search for the truth. It is the pseudoscientist who excuses, dodges, prevaricates, diverts and insults critics because pseudoscience is the search for support of a belief.
      David Healy, you appear to do both, THAT is my dilemma!


      • Posted by Truth on August 20, 2015 at 2:54 pm

        Ok. Where are Healy’s answers to your pointed questions? WHERE?
        Just a blurb about helping to get Linda Andre’s book published when it was not that good a book and would have stood no chance without his benevolent intervention? I cannot believe the cognitive dissonance. And praising Max Fink for being the one to first suggest “cerebral trauma” or organicity?

        Maggie , a psychiatric professional, states the patients can suffer a stroke, have spontaneous seizures, develop euphoria or irrationality and a toxic confusional state… I am assuming she has seen this happen… She also points out that most patients are not on benzos, which Healy tries to pin “memory problems” on along with “anesthesia”.

        He asks how can ECT cause “euphoria” when he sees it being used to bring “manic” patients back to “normal”? There are many studies recording mania and euphoria triggered by ECT. He doesn’t know about this?
        His book states “Linda Andre “claimed” to have cognitive dysfunction caused by ECT”? And Leonard Roy Frank “reported” difficulties? As if they cannot be believed when drug addled people are?
        He is an author on a book that refers to ECT as the “penicillin of psychiatry”, “god’s gift to man” and states ” memory loss is an urban myth”? And the co-author, Eddie Shorter, advocates ECT for adolescents?? Who would take this type of blind and dangerous person seriously or want to write a book with him??
        And, Sackeim’s 2007 findings of cognitive dysfunction mean nothing either ??

        At this point, what could possibly make him see the evidence? He includes Barney’s take on Hartelius’s study, which suggests it was invalid. He includes the “in another part of town” article by feminist lesbian Rachel Perkins crediting ECT with “saving her life” and doing it quickly. Why not include Loretta Wilson’s article or Evelyn Scogin’s, or “amnesia’s or Wendy Funk’s??

        Well-played Dr. Healy, well played. I think he read your post about doing some PR and acting as the maligned noble hero!!
        The nasty posts are the ones calling us trolls and telling us to go away? Healy is praised and lauded for all his tireless work regarding drugs while people ignore the harms he endorses?

        So, he has addressed the issue, stating it can do harm, but that it doesn’t really, to any great degree, saying that the drugs and depression and anesthetic may confound the results,the subtle memory problems. Subtle, hey, like a two by four to the head.
        So what is going on here? Does he “administer ECT at low voltage on one side in well-spaced intervals to a maximum of six when the incompetent cowboys, the sadistic, arrogant shrinks do bilaterals at high dose 12 in 4 weeks causing more damage ??
        You do know that Healy now does not have to ever again respond to criticism or questions about ECT? He has answered the questions pointed his way, even though he really hasn’t. So, is it, yes it causes “some sort of minor problems”,
        but they are not that bad, and patients are “informed ” of the risks even if no one actually uses the words “brain damage”?
        What the ***** will it take to slay this dragon?

        I read the section where he states the beneficiaries of ECT advocating for it, supporting it are the “heads” of Ivy League universities(Leon Roseberg), renowned “surgeons” (Sherwin Nuland), and psychologists (Norman Endler) and I guess, Martha Manning?). He uses the plural form. Who are the other heads and surgeons??

        What will it freaking take to have this human rights violation banned, listed as a form of torture, with jail sentences for the numb, nasty, useless, and arrogant shrinks supporting it and administering it??
        He states Robert Whitaker got thing “wrong” regarding ECT?? Whitaker didn’t go to the experts, the practitioners?
        He says “Bob didn’t do any checking of ‘primary sources’ re ECT”?? He states HE, Dr. Healy, did this, interviewing leading living practitioners ( does he mean the mal-practitioners like Fink, Sackeim and others of this ilk??)
        He critiques the “critics” like Andre and Breggin, saying critics “don’t have a good thing to say about each other”. Who cares? They are on the same page about brain damage and injury of patients.He says he read the literature on the origins of the psych survivor movements before writing Chapter 9. Why didn’t he interview the actual victims, taking testimony from several thousand?? I say Whitaker got it right . Not “Bob’s book is “not right about ECT”; books sometimes can be helpful when they are ‘wrong”??? Sort of like his book with Eddie being “wrong”, best serving as a doorstop or fuel for a fire pit?
        I am just incensed by the untruths, lies, and manipulations. Where is the shame at destroying people’s lives and then calling them complainers or suggesting they have no insight or cannot be believed? ECT according to Dave, causes fewer cognitive problems than ECT?? Stop, already. The stupidity and the hiding, denying, discrediting, is on a par with the behaviour of the pharmaceutical companies and their henchmen, pocket doctors, and key opinion leaders. Yes, black is really white.
        I really do wish Dave and Ned/Eddie would avail themselves of the penicillin, gods gift to man by having 8 or 10 completely benign, and likely beneficial electrical zaps to “improve their memories” and their lives . Sort of like that politician drinking the water out of a poisonous toxic spill laden river just to show people it is perfectly safe. Come on, boys, time to “man up” as Walter says…

  88. Posted by deeeo42d on August 16, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I might add that if you look at his blog, he seems quite inconsistent – see Maggie Macdonald’s replies to a couple of posts.


  89. Posted by Greg Allison on August 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    My mother was given electro-shock treatment in the 1950’s as an experiment for post-natal depression and then sent home to her three kids where she mentally and physically tortured them. The hospital never followed up the treatment with so much as a how is it going? When I found out about this I popped in to the local mental hospital and asked why did no one come back to check up on her post EST state and was hit with an official wall of denial. Unfortunately my first point of contact was with a doctor who accidently spilt the beans on the reality of EST failures. I asked what happened to the EST failures that must of occurred to which she replied that they never see them because they never volunteerily returned after EST. When I mentioned that our family had just discovered that our mum was possibly one of these discarded failures and was possibly in need of an assessment as her husband had just died and it appeared that he had been caring for her since 1956 whilst he waited for her to come right as the doctor (a doctor Cook of Seacliff hospital) said she would, she apparently never did. The reaction I observed in the doctors face was one of fear and nerviousness,
    “Get as far away from your family as you possibly can and try to live your own life and never go back or contact your family ever again” was what I was advised to do which leads me to believe that the negative effects of EST were and are quite well known in medical fraternities but purposely ignored.
    All I wanted was help in being able to care for my mother by gaining a common understanding of her mental state with the rest of the family who she is expecting to look after her but are not as she is just a nasty bitch and not the victim of a science experiment gone horribly wrong. I was advised to engage in legal action by the hospital and did until I was made aware of the 1911 mental defectives act which takes away the right to complain about the outcome of any treatment received of mental hospital property. This give all mental hospital employees immunity from prosecution for anything they do at work. The fact that I was advised to take a course of action that was knowingly legally invalid by the advisors does not look good for the mental health system in New Zealand.

    A lonely guy.


  90. Posted by Barbara on September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I had ECT in 1960s and early 70s in a private hospital in Australia . I never gave consent and was given the maximum amount around 30 treatments. During one of those treatment I woke during the anaesthesia, I was unable to move, scream out, it was terrifying. Even today I am so scared of any anaesthetic due to this experience.
    The ECT has left permanent memory loss and difficulty with processing etc
    The treatment including ECT and the 20 tablets a day forced down my throat was so wrong. I was a zombie at that time.
    I am fortunate to be alive , no thanks to my treatment, just my dogged determination.
    I have three children and three grandchildren and have worked part or full time.
    I need to compartmentalise these dark days that could have been handled so differently, as when I do think about it I relive the trauma,and sense of powerlessness I experienced. I truly believe not a lot has changed its so wrong. The mental health system needs a totally different approach!


  91. Posted by Paula on September 12, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I have been taking so many Medications since I was 14.I am now 41.I am only getting worse. Meds don’t work. I live in Canton, Michigan. I been thinking about the ECT.I’m out of Options. I live alone. I have no Family. I sit day in day out in My Apartment. Now it’s so bad I barely go outside. My Memories Haunt Me.I don’t know what else to do.I feel like a Corpse. Any Suggestions?


  92. Posted by deeeo42d on September 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Please don’t go to ECT. At best, If you’re one of about 1 in 3, you’ll get a few weeks of mild improvement but only because you’ll have a brain injury. When your brain starts to get better the depression will come back but now with brain damage. Soem doctors will tell you that ECT will help you forget but the forgetting will only be for recent things, the haunting memories will still be there. And if there comes a time when you DO recover and you can, you’ll have trouble learning new things, finding your way around, just running your life will be worse not better. Believe me, I have just had to go into neurological rehab to try to get help for some of these issues, but I’ll never get most of it back, and I run the risk of earlier dementia as a result of ECT, which, in my case, as one of the 70% who get NO benefit, never did anything to take away the depression anyway. Have you ever had long term psychotherapy of any kind? Have you ever had any time without the drugs? Can you use the web to try to find some support? Is there a MindFreedom rep in Michigan, or someone from the Icarus Foundation? Perhaps there are some groups in your state that could come to you since you are struggling so badly. The fact that you have reached out to this website shows you aren’t a corpse and are looking for options. Believe it, there is help out there just not where you’ve been looking so far.


    • Posted by Truth on September 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Hello, Deirdre,
      Well, I tried once more to post a comment about ECT to David Healy’s blog in response to statements made by Maggie, Debra, and Dr. Healy. It went to “moderation” and appears to have been censored. No surprise. Are you going to respond to Debra’s comments that you have branded her a “liar”? In my comment, I stated my confusion with the fact she described sitting in the doctor’s office, hallucinating, thinking she is being eaten by maggots, planning her death, being told it might be time for a “short course of ECT”, having it done as an “outpatient”, and returning to work in an hour, “why sit around when there is work to do”. How many people delusional, hallucinating, suicidal are not in hospital but getting ECT and popping off to work as soon as the miracle cure is given?? Am I missing something?
      I think Maggie’s ECT stories are chilling and a more accurate description of the torture that is ECT; her statement that “it should be banned” based on what she observed, like what you observed and experienced as a health professional and patient is the only conclusion anyone with compassion and any decency can come to.
      It was great to read David Healy’s claim that he would most certainly have ECT rather than taking a simple statin or a bisphosphonates, which are just too brain disabling…can we believe he means this?
      Do you know anything about the CORE studies on ECT which Healy says clearly support the conclusion that ECT is useful and efficacious?


      • Posted by deeeo42d on October 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

        The CORE studies are by a group of dedicated ECT proponents led by Charles Kellner, top cocky at the Mount Sinai hospital ECT unit, and former part time employee/sales rep for either/or Somatics Inc and MECTA Corp, manufacturers of 1( the Thymatron & 2) the Spectrum. They haven’t produced anything new but fill up vast amounts of paper with descriptions of brain anatomy which look very impressive until you realise that that’s all they are. They seem to be saying that ECT has an impact on all these structures which of course is absolutely true. 450 volts pulsing through them for 8 seconds does indeed have an impact. What benefit such an assault can have on the very delicate millivolt system that is being impacted is quite another matter? Apart from vague suggestions about the glorious future of ECT due to their work, it is yet another `blinding’ exercise by dedicated pseudoscientists to pull in support for this ridiculously outdated and barbaric procedure. Oh, and Charlie now admits (Jan 2015) that we may have to rethink the belief that ECT doesn’t cause brain damage because, `today’s ultra sensitive scans show that it DOES.’ (The Perrin study 2012). He shows no shame in admitting that, but is attempting to say that this is a good thing because it destroys (sorry, `changes’) connections from the frontal lobes and people with depression have too many of those! This `new’ theory was actually first `new’ even before 1938, when ECT was designed to cause just this, along with lobotomy etc, “Moniz,1938 – ECT-to cure these patients it is necessary to destroy cellular connexions in brain, particularly those related to frontal lobes.” Well, along with the `new improved’ ECT where nothing new has occurred for 40+ years, these people have a very strange idea of time, or a total lack of knowledge of history, or a very peculiar ability to deny facts, or are bad liars (good ones remember what they said) or have no respect for anyone else’s intelligence. Or all of these. Mind you this idea of the `connections’ has to be knocked on the head because it was just such unsubstantiated claptrap that got the `chemical imbalance’ thing entrenched. I have written about that and will see if I can get it into MIA. These people need the same kind of rebuttal that Robert Whitaker and Phil Hickey gave Ron Pies and his `no well informed psychiatrist or ORGANISATION ever pushed the `Chemical imbalance’ idea – it was all the drug companies. There goes HIS bonus and half the advertising for the Psychiatric Times, well no, because we still have the likes of Charlie Kellner and his CORE mates to push the dead horse to its ultimate.
        I can’t find the part of the blog with the ECT comments, can you sendf me the links again?

      • Posted by Truth on October 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        Healy’s comments and the article are found on his blog site under the “Poison, Shock, Mutilate” title. I did get my comment posted, and Debra, who was upset YOU implied she was a “liar”, has called me on my “hectoring”, “mocking” comments about her experience in that post. I just pointed out it was hard to reconcile someone paranoid, thinking maggots were eating her body, hallucinating, just popping in for in-patient ECT and then, an hour later driving 100 miles or “getting back to work”. It sounds very bizarre. But, I did apologize, because, I was a bit harsh and incredulous.
        Still do not see Dr. Healy’ answers to your questions or mine. Do we list them again? He keeps bringing up that 96 year old able to “play bridge” after ECT and nurses and docs seeing “stuporous” patients doing “crosswords” after ECT. Perhaps, but do they know their own names, or how to drive a car, or who their family members are, or where they live? They won’t discover what is burned away till they leave the psych prison and try to cook and don’t know how or find out they had kids or a cat!! And, as the brain injury wears off, I bet the crossword puzzles fall off also….
        I did contact John Read by e-mail asking for his take on Healy’s comment that he admires Bentall and Read, but they missed those CORE statistics; nothing back. Doubt if he has the time to answer random e-mails.
        Did you post this info about CORE to Healy’s blog already?
        The more I watch Healy dodge, deflect, say “no one says there ISN’T brain damage” while the next statement is “ECT is not brain injury or a TBI” and side track to “the body/brain can stand “brief insults” better than “chronic poisoning”. WTF?? Does this translate to: Several quick baseball bats to the skull (concussions) are preferable to long time antidepressants or neuroleptics?? What is he missing when he uses the word “insults”? Does he mean assaults??
        I did appreciate Healy letting the comments flow freely, but I just see more and more steely determination to stick to the story that ECT really is a viable “medical procedure” that SOME people NEED. He keeps defending this crap. The drug emperor has no clothes but the ECT one does?? Seriously, why is he not embarrassed? Embarrassed even to suggest Bob Whitaker is “wrong” about ECT. He did say you had a bunch of “facts” wrong about the guys putting out the warnings about SSRIs. Seems a bit touchy about the contributions of others in this field….

  93. Posted by deeeo42d on September 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Oh, and here is a review of Dr Terry Lynch’s latest book so that you don’t feel bad about the drugs not working. They almost never do. All you have had for so long is the suppression of your emotions possibly to the point that you have no idea what they are.

    Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance
    Kirkus Reviews: “An eye-opening look at how a singular theory of depression has pervaded and persuaded the medical world”.

    Leonie Fennell Review: “Ground-breaking…I have never read a more accurate or frank account of the myths surrounding “mental illness”…This fabulous book is a must for everyone who believes they are suffering from a brain chemical imbalance. His book…is definitely a keeper”.
    To be published 02nd September 2015, in this book I discuss the fact that there is no reliable scientific evidence of any brain chemical problem in depression. I discuss many related topics including–the brain chemical imbalance notion meets psychiatry’s own criteria for a delusion; why drug companies are reducing (and in some notable cases abandoning) psychiatry; how this delusionary idea has been promoted by doctors, drug companies, some psychologists, therapists, mental health organisations, some aspects of the media, the nutrition industry and well known public figures; what doctors treat known brain disorders (NOT psychiatrists); flawed science and poor standards in high places; the major consequences of 50 years of widespread belief in this falsehood; and a better way to understand and respond to depression.


  94. Ect helping… ?? Mmm.. Methinks that it’s a poor substitute for meditating, which does have similar result, as in not many unbidden thoughts.. Except that of course, there is no brain damage.
    I guess if someone feels better having their brain electrocuted and not having to deal with problems they can’t actualy remember anymore its a temporary fix. But somehow we do end up facing ourselves, and not being able to think can help. Please if anyone is considering ect, please try meditation first.
    Even some conscious breathing will help.. Alot wil help even more. And it’s safe. The brain uses about quarter of a volt normally. Putting 400 volts though it isn’t sensible.
    It’s like taking someone who’s been raped and then hypnotising them.. It doesn’t mean it never happened. BTW.. I’ve dealt with being diagnosed with four serious mental health conditions for ten years.. No medication.. Yes Its been hard at times.. But that’s to be expected.. My view was.. Risky I get the wrong medication.. risky helping myself.. But at least I know it’s not side effects I’m feeling.
    Feel free to ask how :)
    Thanks to the samaritans at times x


  95. Posted by Oliver on October 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    ECT after-effects – a survivor’s story

    What I didn’t know until I was 39 is that I was brought up in a family affected by sexual abuse, both my parents had suffered childhood rape, and being the youngest I bore the brunt of sibling bullying, a ‘juvenile delinquent’ survivor of psychiatry from 1961 getting the usual Freudian ‘you’re jealous of your father and want to have sex with your mother’ plus told that I had strong homosexual tendencies, and fancied my first psychiatrist – I was 12 at the time – a classic case of transference – all of which made me uncooperative with psychiatrists – a big mistake!!

    In 1971 I was in a grieving process and exhausted from running a summer play scheme, so they sectioned me, diagnosed catatonic depression, filled me up to the eyeballs with drugs, and when I didn’t ‘get better’ quick enough, without any choice or mention of the after-effects, they gave me ECT – I don’t know how many shocks, or whether, as is common practice, the equipment was obsolete, the staff untrained, the voltage totally arbitrary, because, it seems, when I started to make noises about suing, they conveniently lost my medical records.

    Soon after ECT, I was visited in hospital by someone whose face and name I didn’t know, although, I learnt in conversation we’d shared a communal flat, eating drinking, talking together almost every day of the previous year, and when I was despatched back with no after-care to the family home where problems had arisen, I discovered my current address book, and frantically phoned some strange names in it, hoping their voices would bring back glimmers of recognition.

    Soon after ECT I realised I could remember all of the alphabet, nor my times table although I’d As in maths GCE O and A level, and I often stayed at home, irrationally fearing I’d be asked to recite them – for weeks I didn’t know first names of my parents, older siblings – at the first opportunity I moved to a town where almost no-one knew me, to avoid the embarrassment of social situations, and I still have cold sweats in large groups when I might be called upon to introduce people I’d known for years, but can’t remember their names – every day I need to muster the courage to venture forth so as not to be trapped in lonely isolation.

    For 6 or so years after my finals, sat just before ECT, I thought I’d failed, until writing about something else, with a vague ps, I was sent my degree certificate, which was useful, no longer having to explain away 4 years of my life – I’ve got 13 GCEs, 4 top grade, but no professional qualifications – since ECT I’ve sat only 1 exam, and despite it being 70% project work and continual assessment, I struggled to just pass, well bottom of the class – my memory and impaired concentration can’t cope.

    Some years after ECT, I was approached by a Social Security inspector, who asked if I knew a woman, and was surprised when I didn’t, but insisted she was the mother of my daughter – having no memory of her, I was easily persuaded by my now ex-wife to deny paternity – years later again, I met old friends, who said I’d had an affair, and she’d just had her womb scraped – but by then I’d thrown away all the papers, and am told I can’t now trace her, and she’s unlikely to want to trace me, who forgot being her father.

    I can spend all afternoon in deep, personal conversation with one other person, then, the very next day in the street cut her or him dead, walk away from the smile of, to me, a total stranger, which has lost me untold friends (I didn’t know I did that until a kind person told me), and I’ve long since given up on my life aim of writing a novel – my mind can only extend to brief, disciplined sections (like this is written) – even though at college my published articles got a special mention in an award-winning Observer Mace student magazine.

    For 29 years I’ve lived a moment to moment existence, every day coping with an emotional yo-yo – I’m liable to cry in company for no apparent reason, leaving my flat is a major expedition, and I rarely go beyond a round of known people and places, partly because explaining to those who don’t know me why I reacted in a particular way is just too complicated, and for a long time my sleep was rare – like those twitching frog’s legs, I suffer from muscular spasms that jerk me awake when I lie down and try to relax.

    Like many ECT survivors, I suffer from fear of doctors and hospitals, and a few years ago I had uveitis, but kept putting off seeing my doctor, until two friends almost dragged me there, and then to hospital, where I was told, another week and there’d have been permanent damage and blindness – I’ve had at least three ‘mystery’ illnesses, and perhaps like others a brain scan would show the same results as a stroke or epileptic fit caused by ECT – but they are serious medical conditions, whilst ECT is supposed to be a treatment.

    I’m told ECT is given to cure suicidal tendencies, which I find very peculiar, because before ECT I was never suicidal, and when a friend killed himself, I was horrified by the waste of life and talent – but 3 years after ECT I almost did it, countless crushed up pills and my wrists still bear the scars, and every week, almost every day, my thoughts turn to suicide, my urge to live is weak, dormant – and it’s odd that if ECT is such a life-saver, why is the death rate for those who’ve had it so much higher than the national average?

    Childhood family holidays were all over Europe, I did a year’s VSO abroad, then hitchhiked across South Africa, and when at college in 1968 from Rome to Copenhagen and home, but since ECT I haven’t ventured outside the UK, I’m not sure I could manage – after ECT and the suicide attempt it helped induce, I spent a year in a halfway house, but then, realising I couldn’t cope alone, I was easy meat for recruitment to a group I fooled myself into believing was honourable, learning 19 years later it was a cult with a guru motivated by greed – where had gone the independent free spirit I once was?

    ECT is given by professionals who admit they don’t know what it does, except to say it’s localised brain treatment, yet the human body is 70% or more water, an excellent conductor, so how can they guarantee it’s just local – in a recent survey of ECT survivors, over a third said it had damage them, so every day doctors are breaking their Hippocratic Oath ‘do no harm’ – to me ECT equals Every Cell Traumatised, I’ve been tortured in civilised fashion, and all the time have to struggle against the victim mentality it’s helped produce in me.

    At a recent kinesiology session, I was taken through the experience of having ECT, to help heal it, and whilst she gently held my hand, it was as if I was ejected into the air, and I was left with the feeling of pure, unadulterated TERROR – I don’t own a TV, it affects me too much, and go to the cinema about once a year – Schindler’s List left me shattered for about a month, and Jurassic Park gave me nightmares and daymares for weeks, as if ECT had punched a hole in my aura, destroyed protection from outside influences.

    But I’ve been lucky, unlike the hundreds who die during treatment, written off as ‘heart attack’, or are paralysed, or have given up, their minds destroyed, or are forced to agree to yet more shocks under threat of denial of psychiatric drugs they’ve been made addicts of – an American philosopher once wrote ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’, and I’ve spent weeks vainly trying to recall lost months, but can’t fill the gaps – I often feel I’m going round in circles, and about all that keeps me going is anger at what was done to me.

    Oliver Swingler
    Written 28th October 2000 – slightly edited September 2015

    And later …

    Since writing and sharing my ECT survivors story, I got lots of support from others who’d been damaged by the mental health system, got out some of my anger manning a picket outside an ECT clinic (my picture was in the local newspaper!), had loads of counselling – about my dysfunctional family affected by sexual abuse, leaving the cult, near alcoholism and being an ex-offender, as well as psychiatric and ECT abuse. And, in the course of a year, I tried 20 different forms of alternative therapy – using barter for those I couldn’t afford, and even found a sympathetic doctor who actually listened.
    I still live moment-to-moment and have memory problems – but people pay big bucks to learn to live in now, when I can’t do anything else (!), and I’ve pieced together much of my life story, important names and dates, which is always nearby in case of panic attacks.
    My anti-ECT stance helped me regain some of the campaigning zeal of my youth, and I’ve broadened out, been involved in anti-war and anti-fracking protests, as well as for a time joining a left/green choir, and writing two songs: ‘Bees are buzzing’ https://youtu.be/TwHZkY4UbfI and ‘Global warming’ http://youtu.be/s9g_Ucr4twQ both of which have been retweeted by hundreds of people to more than a million followers.
    I still have problems in social situations, but I’ve two very good friends, have served on a committee or two, and even had the confidence to get back onto the dating scene, chatting away to others seeking friendship.
    What I’m trying to get across is that it’s not easy, but it isn’t all bad news, there can be life after ECT, moments of joy as well as sorrow, and with my sights and expectations of myself set nice and low, the chance to have real self-respect knowing I tried, I did something I feel good about almost every day.
    Best wishes,
    14th September 2015


  96. Posted by deeeo42d on October 11, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I am breathless with rage and sorrow at the tragedy of this appallingly sad story. I am also deeply humbled by your courage. Your story needs to be told in every corner of the world where ECT is being touted as a `safe, effective treatment’. Would you consider publishing it elsewhere?


    • Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      I’m absolutely fine about this being published elsewhere – when I first wrote it, it was shared to ECT Anonymous, put up on the fledgling internet, etc, and more recently is on a number of anti-ECT, anti-psychiatry Facebook pages.
      But as for wider publicity, I’ve extremely mixed feelings – I do have a few other considerations – in that although I do feel quite strong at the moment, I still live on a knife-edge, my actual support network is just a few lovely people who have their own problems, and although part of me would love to shout ant-ECT from the roof-tops, I’m not sure I could handle a whole lot of media attention
      Although the starting point of my story is that my mother was raped by her father – and after I became the first person she’d revealed that fact to then aged 72, bottling it up for 60 years – she asked specifically when I broached trying to write some sort of auto-biography, that I not mention it at least until after she died, which was in 2011. And I’m in regular touch with NAPAC and Rape Crisis, tweeting and complaining to the BBC in support, encouraging, urging them and victims on, to go public …
      Besides which my current campaigning is focused on the related but separate White Ribbon Campaign, of men anti-violence by men on women. And that is also related because the vast majority of psychiatrists who prescribe ECT are men, and very much the majority of women who suffer ECT are women – and personally I can think of little besides murder and rape more violent than ECT.


      • Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        PS. Is it possible to edit these comments after they’ve been posted – I keep on making these mistakes, in grammar, wrong words, which kind of detract from the text?

      • Hello Oliver, to be honest, I am not sure how of if the text can be amended. I am a very average IT person. However, I just read all your posts and didn’t see anything that detracted from the strength of what you are writing. Please don’t worry about it and please keep spreading your message. One day your voice will be heard and you will have contributed to helping others escape from the clutches of these foul brutes.

  97. Posted by deeeo42d on October 11, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I think Oliver’s story should be given the widest exposure possible – several things things, the destruction caused by ECT, the cupidity of the psychiatric profession, the abandonment by our society and the courage and enormous strength of this man come together here. Any suggestions? MIA perhaps, Youtube interview, movie???


    • Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Gosh deeeo42d – I don’t know about a YouTube interview cos I’ve read your lovely confirming comment about 10 times and I still can’t stop the tears streaming down – so I might not be altogether coherent!!


  98. Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    In 2000 I mounted a one-man picket outside the local ECT clinic in Newcastle-upon-Tyne – until 2 porter ‘heavies’ asked me to leave! But somehow (maybe because I rang them!) the story got in the local newspaper and radio, and the next day the hospital PR person welcomed me onto the premises…
    Anyway, here’s something I gave out as a leaflet – I think all still true today (though there may be better anti-ECT research references):

    48 facts you need to know before agreeing to ECT
    1 Early pioneers of medicine used to test their cures on themselves, but no longer – an American ECT survivor has offered $5,000 on the Internet to any doctor willing to undergo 10 shock treatments (the usual course), but there have been no takers.
    2 Every doctor used to take the Hippocratic Oath, which says “Do no harm” – but in a UKAN survey of ECT survivors more than 35% said it had damaged them.
    3 The [UK] Royal College of Psychiatrist (RCP) 1996 audit reported that 67% of clinics were not following the guidelines on safety in giving ECT.
    4 On Women’s Hour [a very popular BBC4 radio programme] in January 2000 a clinical psychiatrist told of interviewing patients, who described the process of being given ECT as “feeling assaulted, punished, humiliated, stigmatised; they felt betrayed and degraded and worthless, and there was an overall feeling of having been helpless and out of control”.
    5 A pro-ECT American psychiatrist has written: “The objectives of electro-shock therapy is to produce … a condition of confusion which we term ‘complete depatterning’” – in other words, brain-washing.
    6 ECT survivors in this country (UK) have experienced the following physical after-effects: muscle spasms, palpitations, back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, bowel problems, thyroid problems, stress ulcers, undiagnosed nervous system condition, dehydration – and lots more.
    7 In an ECT Anonymous survey, over 50% experienced the after-effects of impaired number skills, impaired language/writing, panic attacks, bad dreams or nightmares, suicidal tendencies.
    8 Two doctors, working in Italy when it was ruled by Fascism, are hailed as being the pioneers of ECT experiments on human beings.
    9 A report on ECT stated that it produces a temporary feeling of well-being and permanent harm to memory, similar to strokes, asphyxiation, concussion, carbon monoxide poisoning – but they are serious medical conditions, whilst ECT is supposed to be a cure.
    10 The [UK] Secretary of State for Health recently said: “Informed consent of patients and families is paramount” – but the RCP Handbook states that “In some cases ECT is necessary even if the patient refuses consent.”
    11 Under ECT, increased doses of electricity are given to produce a fit – yet neurologists work hard to reduce fits in people suffering from epilepsy at all costs, knowing that fits can produce permanent brain damage.
    12 The [UK] 1998 Benbow Report stated that 25% of psychiatrists had seen a “death or major medical complication” on the ECT table.
    13 In Victorian times, a black box giving electric shocks was advertised as a good way of dealing with ‘wayward wives and difficult servants’ – from January to March 1999, of 2,800 patients in the UK given ECT, over two-thirds were women.
    14 After more than 60 years of using it, psychiatrists admit that they do not understand how ECT works – but deny that they are experimenting.
    15 A 1998 report found that 64% of consultant psychiatrists had not even read the RCP Handbook giving guidelines on ECT safety.
    16 Here is a typical experience of memory loss from an ECT survivor: “Patients come up to me and say ‘Hi’. They know me, but I have no idea who they are. They don’t even look familiar. They say I spent a long time with them, but I have no memory. Part of me is missing forever”.
    17 An American Psychiatric Association report states that: “In many patients, the recovery from retrograde amnesia will be incomplete, and there is evidence that ECT can result in persistent or permanent memory loss.”
    18 A pro-ECT psychiatrist recently agreed that working through traumatic childhood events can be vital for long-term settlement of a mental health problem – but that becomes impossible if ECT has destroyed accurate memory of them.
    19 In an ECT Anonymous survey, over 60% of ECT survivors said they had the after-effects of impaired organisational skills, feeling of remoteness, personality changes, fear of doctors and hospitals.
    20 Major advances in pioneering ECT research took place in Nazi Germany, where doctors and psychiatrists had thousands of concentration camp victims to experiment on, and death on the ECT table saved the cost of transport to the gas chamber.
    21 A 1985 ECT researcher stated: “There is not a single methodologically sound study that reports beneficial effects lasting as long as four weeks.”
    22 Here are some comments overheard from therapists giving ECT … “Let’s give him the works” … “Hit him with all we’ve got” … “The patient was noisy and restive, so I put him on intensive ECT three times a day” … “ .. a mental spanking .. “.
    23 ECT treatment aims to approach the threshold dose of electricity – shocks higher than the threshold will cause ‘cognitive impairment in proportion to the overshock’ – ‘This threshold dose varies 1 to 40 from one patient to another’ – ‘Clinics have no way of determining the threshold dose’ – ‘ … routine settings vary fourfold between clinics’.
    24 Psychiatrists say that ECT is a life-saver when people are suicidal – but a 1999 Journal of Clinical Psychiatrists article states that: “Proof remains elusive that any medical intervention has produced a measurable impact on suicide rates in the general population”.
    25 Here are some anagrams of “Electro-convulsive therapy”: Volt virulence rapes the coy …Convey torture vehicle slap … Every volt lot is pure chance … Cruelly not revive past echo … Ever cancel host love purity … The lovely nature crops vice …
    26 Some psychiatrists describe ECT as ‘a treatment of last resort’, others say it is ‘a preferred treatment’, still others have written that it is ‘cruel and barbaric’, that it should be banned, and that effective humane alternative techniques do exist.
    27 Recently a woman referred by a Rape Crisis Centre was told by a psychiatrist, after 30 minutes conversation, that he could diagnose her as schizophrenic or manic depressive or personality disorder – some psychiatrists will prescribe ECT for all these labels, some for none.
    28 Here are some comments from ECT survivors after treatment … “Why do I feel like a robot?” … “Why am I so fatigued all the time?” … “Why can’t I remember day-to-day things like I used to?’ … “Are others so scared a I am of visiting the doctor?”
    29 EEG tests have shown that ECT dramatically affects theta and delta rhythms of the brain, indicating brain deterioration and damage.
    30 ECT survivors who have had a brain scan have been asked “Are you epileptic or have you had a stroke?” – the technician was puzzled when they said no, but when they revealed that they’d had ECT, said “That explains it!”
    31 In the ECT Anonymous survey of survivors, 76% said they were unable to return to their previous occupation (and a further 17% only partially), whilst 70% could not even take up less demanding work – not a very good record for a supposed cure.
    32 During the Second World War, exhausted and traumatised Nazi soldiers returning from the Russian front, who refused to fight any more, were given ECT to erase their memory of the horror, then sent back, often to their death.
    33 Some patients who swear by ECT were not told they were taking part in a research experiment, and were in a ‘no treatment’ control group – so maybe being put to sleep under anaesthetic is a better option, with fewer risks and damaging side-effects.
    34 An ECT Anonymous survey did not show much ‘informed consent’ – 86% of ECT survivors felt they had been pressurised into having ECT, whilst 96% felt that the risks had not been properly explained to them.
    35 An American philosopher, George Santayana, has written: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – but ECT damages the memory.
    36 A Nottingham study of ECT survivors found that those under 65 had a mortality rate of four times the national average and a greater risk of readmission to hospital, whilst results of a recent Scottish audit of ECT, of 1,314 patients receiving 8,672 treatments, suggests that there is an ECT related death in Scotland every 3 days.
    37 A man recently won £500,000 compensation after a 15-year legal battle, having been paralysed from the waist down on the ECT table.
    38 A recent report on ECT in America showed that 92% of psychiatrists there don’t prescribe it, and of the remaining 8% most were trained in the UK.
    39 A consultant recently stated that psychiatrists receive no financial benefit from giving ECT – but the RCP Handbook extensively quotes from US research funded by major manufacturers of ECT equipment, research which of course ‘proved’ that ECT is completely safe and effective!
    40 After receiving shock treatment, the writer Ernest Hemingway wrote: “What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient” – soon after, he killed himself.
    41 Rorschach tests after ECT revealed: “The dullness which is characteristic, immediately following shock therapy, often persisted for a long time, in some cases years after shock” … “rigidity in the use of mental resources” … “inattention and inability to concentrate” … “difficulty in carrying out tasks that they were well trained to do before their illness”.
    42 Other tests have recorded the immediate after-effects of “confusion, headaches, disorientation, muscle ache, physical weakness, dizziness” … and …”memory loss, apathy (emotional blunting), learning difficulties, and loss of creativity, drive and energy may last for weeks, months, or even be permanent”.
    43 In the ECT Anonymous survey, over 80% survivors had experienced loss of past memory, impaired present memory, and impaired concentration.
    44 Some psychiatric nurses and technicians have experienced horror and trauma from witnessing ECT being given – it is hoped that they then refused to administer it, rather than using the excuse “We were only following orders” (as they said at the Nuremberg trials).
    45 ECT survivors will be pleased to learn that “The tendency for death to occur in ECT recipients earlier than non-recipients does not become pronounced until 5 or 10 years following first hospitalisation”.
    46 A 1996 survey showed that in the UK, 12 young people under 18 were given ECT, including a child of 12 – the ECT Handbook recommends that the option be kept open for giving ECT to children even younger.
    47 Modern ‘modified’ ECT is supposed to be safer, but because of the drugs and anaesthetic given, it actually utilises even more electricity than in the past, up to 450 volts, to produce an epileptic coma, just as happened before ECT was ‘modified’.
    48 An ECT survivor has written: “Just when I needed care and help, they damaged my brain … I was never suicidal before ECT, but 3 years later I nearly killed myself, needing life-support, and a year in a half-way house … 30 years later I still live day-to-day, I’m an emotional yo-yo .. about the only thing that keeps me going is anger about what was done to me, and thousands of other people .. if I can help to see it banned, my pain and torment will have been worthwhile …”
    Fact sheet produced by Oliver Swingler in March 2000.


  99. Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Here’s a tip – if you’ve been sectioned for some depression diagnosis, and don’t want any more ECT, you desperately want to get out …
    If they’ve got it, go to Art Therapy … then if you possibly can, completely forget, ignore, put aside, out of your head how you’re actually feeling, any anger or frustration, and paint a picture (and it really doesn’t matter how ‘good’ or not it is), which has ABSOLUTELY NO dark colours in it, and NO SYMBOLS (because their Freudianism will just kick in!) – maybe a happy country scene, with a bright sun, some smiling children, a cuddly totally non-threatening puppy or two, some gambolling lambs … and then just maybe the art therapist will get really excited, and at their next weekly staff meeting report how much ‘better’ you are, and then when the psychiatrist comes round, smile brightly, agree with everything he says, tell him about all the lovely things you’re looking forward to doing, the jolly nice people you want to see again, and – they’re always short of beds anyway – hey presto, open sesame, you’re out …
    That’s what another patient told me back in 1971, and it worked a treat!


  100. Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    When I began to realise just how much ECT had affected my life and still was doing 28 years later, I was very angry and just needed to get it out, talking to counsellors, friends, anyone who’d listen – and I wrote a lot, prose and poems, which was very therapeutic – if you can’t manage that, how about recording your voice, and asking a friend to transcribe? … anyway, here’s one of my poems:

    My muddled mind lurches along the undercurrents
    Of their persuasive words, desperately struggling to perceive
    The hidden agendas, avoid the whirlpools of polluted expertise,
    The brittle shells of their unconscious mental illnesses.

    They look so clean – the tailored suit, sombre tie and jewelled pin,
    The starched uniform and cap, gaily adorned with ribbons –
    But their eyes are hard, dull and shifty, and imposing postures,
    Incessant glances at the clock, give clues to corruption working within.

    Is greed his motive force, trapped by the lust for power it buys?
    Do status and recognition rule her latent lack of self-confidence?
    Was childhood so devoid of love that clinical training
    Could erode their inherent fellow feeling and humanity?

    But my mind wanders, as I sit in pyjamas too big for me,
    A borrowed dressing-gown – why am I here, did someone die
    Who was important to me? And, too late, their diagnosis is complete,
    I realise that for them grieving is a disease, and I’m filled with pity.

    How can I explain a lifetime of complex interactions in ten minutes?
    My survival urge is weak, sapped by days of institutional food
    And rules, and like a caged zoo animal, I placidly accept
    This week’s tortured care of experimental drugs and brainwashing ECT.

    Oliver Swingler
    25th October 2000


  101. Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks deeeo42d and Philip for your encouraging comments – so I’ll continue sharing my splurge of anti-ECT creativity fuelled by anger back in 2000ish …

    Here’s an acrostic poem …


    Elephants don’t arrange to have memories wiped out
    Larks don’t sing tunes that awaken chronic doubt
    Electric eels don’t give shocks to others of their kind
    Cheetahs don’t advise speedy cures that damage the mind
    Tortoises don’t punish those who are a bit slower
    Reindeer don’t stigmatise whatever they see as lower
    Owls don’t manufacture darkness for hunting their prey
    Crocodiles don’t submerge animals in terror for pay
    Oysters don’t clam up if treatment is put to the test
    Nightingales don’t wilfully disturb other creatures’ rest
    Voles don’t produce the dependence on hibernation
    Unicorns don’t pretend what’s real is an invention
    Locusts don’t strip bare while announcing that it’s healing
    Spiders don’t weave to confuse other spiders’ feeling
    Iguana don’t make ugly innocent hope and belief
    Vultures don’t pick at the bones of those suffering grief
    Earthworms don’t aim to undermine the vulnerable naïve
    Tigers don’t lurk behind caring postures that deceive
    Hornets don’t sting to sell results in published research
    Eagles don’t use old, weak ones to establish their perch
    Rattlesnakes don’t have hidden agendas that cause fear
    Ants don’t build nests that alienate every ant near
    Psychiatrists and their drugs often do – they’ve done it to me
    Yours may be the next mind to be raped by ECT

    Oliver Swingler
    October 2000


  102. Posted by Oliver on October 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Here’s another poem I wrote to try to help my healing process …
    (sorry if some of the last verse does not make much sense outside the UK?)

    In the ward it was discovered
    That every single one of us
    Had been sexually or physically abused
    As a child,
    Victims or a dictatorship,
    Ruled by the older and stronger
    Who sheltered behind the name of
    Family values

    They told us that our honest sensitivity
    Being unable to pretend
    That unwanted sex and violence
    Made us happy,
    And our difficulty in liking
    Let alone loving
    Those who caused us pain
    Was unacceptable in a Christian society
    And a weakness
    That needed to be cured
    With drugs and ECT
    And by locking away

    Then came ‘community care’
    And they put us in slum houses
    In down-trodden districts
    Surrounded by those
    Whose lifestyles born of poverty and ignorance
    Were a constant reminder
    Of what we had suffered,
    And their newspapers called us mad, bad and dangerous
    Saying we were the ones
    Who did those crimes
    Against humanity.

    Victims once, victims twice, victims thrice.
    If the meek shall inherit the earth,
    Please let it be soon.

    Oliver Swingler
    4th November 2000


    • Posted by deeeo42d on October 16, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Poverty and ignorance are universal, Oliver. Do you mind if I put your poems on my Facebook page and send them to the psychotherapists I know who still don’t get it? Plus there is a lot of work going on that identifies (as if we didn’t know already) the role of exactly what you’re saying as the cause of `mental illness’. So much for the `genetic profile’ a pompous psychiatrist wrote of recently. We can identify the gene that makes it likely that you will die of lung cancer if you smoke, but still have NO genes that identify ANY mental illness. We DO have, staring us in the face, the absolute knowledge that if you are badly hurt as a child you have a significant chance of getting emotional disturbances when you grow up! But that isn’t scientific enough for these pseudo-scientists who just want to be `real’ doctors. Sadly, they don’t seem to realise that their nonsensical claims, which are now being blown out of the water, have made them despised by most intelligent `real’ doctors, all along.


      • Posted by Oliver on October 16, 2015 at 9:37 am

        You’re very welcome to share my poems – and it would be nice to be able to see it on the Facebook page, and any comments.
        I think a lot of psychiatrist are in it for the power, money status – as far as I’m concerned most of the ones I’ve met are far more mentally ill than I’ve ever been (their diseases greed, hypocrisy, corruption etc) – and no amount of argument is going to convince them of anything which isn’t in their own selfish interest.
        But then maybe I’m a little bit prejudiced!

  103. Posted by deeeo42d on October 16, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Re Truth’s 10/10/15 comments. I’ve been working on the `rescue’ of a man being hammered by ECT as ? punishment – memory shot to pieces but finally have got to Healy’s latest. Here is my response: Probably won’t see daylight, but…
    David: You say: “Most of the details you cite about who discovered or did what are wrong – Irving Kirsch had nothing to do with the hazards of SSRIs and while Peter Breggin bravely got involved in the Fentress case, he was not the person who put the SSRI problems on the map.”
    Not really: Irving Kirsch -Kirsch, I., & Sapirstein, G (1998-06-26). “Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication. Prevention and Treatment”. Prevention and Treatment 1 (2): Article 0002a.
    Kirsch, I., Moore, T. J., Scoboria, A., & Nicholls, S. S (July 2002). “The emperor’s new drugs: An analysis of antidepressant medication data” (pdf). Prevention and Treatment 5: Article 23.
    Peter Breggin – Breggin, P. R. and Breggin, G. R. (1994). Talking Back To Prozac: What Doctors Aren’t Telling You About Today’s Most Controversial Drug. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
    Breggin, P. R. (1997). Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Role of the FDA. New York: Springer Publishing Company
    Breggin, P. R. (2001). The Anti-Depressant Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Luvox, Cambridge: Perseus Books.
    Peter Breggin is, and has been since the 1960s, vehemently and publicly opposed to ECT.

    -You say, “Bob Whitaker is not right about ECT…he didn’t go any checking of primary sources re ECT.”…Did you interview any of the 70+% of psychiatrists who don’t use ECT? Did you interview any of the 70% of doctors who do, who put their hands up at the various conferences when asked if they’ve seen brain damage in their patients? Did you interview the silent majority who dare not speak out for fear of losing their admission rights to private hospitals for their sick patients if they publicly speak against ECT? Did you interview the doctors who lost their jobs because they refused to do ECT? Did you interview the medical students who were so sickened by having to do ECT as part of their training that they sent petitions to the med school admin to ask for exemptions due to conscientious objection?

    -You say, “Many of the people who worked to improve ECT practices were psychotherapists”… (Many?) However most psychotherapists, historically and currently, deplored and deplore ECT. Indeed Harry Stack Sullivan stated, “These sundry procedures, [ECT, lobotomy etc]to my way of thinking, produce “beneficial” results by reducing the patient’s capacity for being human.”

    -You say, “ECT is not an industry with access to PR facilities etc”: I think that the PR departments of the various professional bodies might be surprised to hear that. But perhaps you don’t quite understand what PR is. I was married to a PR man, PR aims to make a product, idea, process attractive to the consumer, it is usually for financial gain but not necessarily. It is not advertising per se, it precedes and enables advertising. The APA has an official PR department dedicated to make its claims about ECT attractive. In fact a patient who publicly proclaimed that ECT was the best treatment he could have had for his severe, treatment-resistant depression was revealed to be a psychiatrist employed by the PR unit of the APA, who had never had either a depressive illness or ECT.
    The idea that `if you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it’, appears a path taken by the PR units of most psychiatric professional bodies. You, along with most of your colleagues in the drug investigation field acknowledge this. It includes ECT. For instance the professional bodies’ [APA, RCP, RANZCP] categorical statements that ECT is “proven” safe and effective and the best treatment available for severe depression’, when you grant that there is a case for reservation, is a clear example of this.
    -You say, “Being abused by ECT is pretty rare – at least here where i can see what’s happening. There were only two seriously disturbing cases that I was aware of – there are far more abuse with drugs cases.”: Of course there are more people abused by drugs because there are more people taking drugs. As I’ve mentioned before, do we excuse abuse in a particular area because the total numbers are fewer? Sexual abuse in children is much more rare than physical abuse which is in turn rarer than emotional abuse. Does this mean we should put sexual abuse on the back burner while we tackle the larger numbers? As for rarity in ECT abuse cases. I’ve been slow to respond here because I’ve been working on a case where a man is being abused by ECT to punish his litigious father. I personally received Multiple Monitored ECT because an ECT zealot recommended it for my overnight suicidal reaction from Prozac. It was only stopped because my confusion (apparently, as I have no recollection of that 3 months whatsoever, or the 5 years prior) was so severe that even my ECT-happy doctor baulked. If you aren’t aware of more than two seriously disturbing cases, you either have a different view of `disturbing’ from me, or you’re not looking, Dr Healy.

    -You say, “I can think of one person who complained about cognitive dysfunction after ECT, but every week of the year I get someone else complain of post- SSRI or antipsychotic cognitive dysfunction”: Once again, do we calculate harm on the numbers? THere are several reasons why you might not be told of problems, the first being that you’re probably seeing them only in a clinical situation, either during or shortly after ECT when they’re not necessarily complaining about anything. ECT produces, as do many head injuries, a kind of affable apathy where compliance and loss of initiative are symptoms of an abnormal state of mind. You cannot deny the EEG records “…Diffuse slowing in the delta and theta range, increased voltage. and dysrhythmic activity are seen in all patients immediately following a series of bilateral ECT…”(Friedberg 1977). This brain wave state is similar to some levels of sleep. Since there have been no new developments in ECT technology except re-use of square wave technology (invented in 1946), & the power is much greater now (450v vs 100v) since that time, this must remain valid. Anosognosia may be an issue, too, of course.
    There is also the well known psychological `intimidation factor’. Not, of course, a stand over threat, but a desire on the part of the dependent person (patient) to give the dominant person (doctor) what they believe he/she wants to hear (see Squire 1981).
    -You say, “What are you going to do about the 96 year old lady who walked into me sometime back and said, “look young man, I need ECT”. Can you really deny treatment to people who want it?”: Given the death rate from ECT in the very elderly, I would’t have the courage to use a blunt electrical force on a 96 year old brain. And isn’t the `pills or ECT’ alternative a bit simplistic in our new climate of lip service to the psychosocial push? (see The Psychiatric Times, Ronnie Pies et al). What social issues had perhaps pushed this old lady to that point? Of course we have the dilemma, the drug issue highlights it absolutely, of when does the doctor decide what is good for the patient? All too often in psychiatry, where people can be forced to have treatment by law, as you concede. As you say I do, people read/hear about things from all kinds of sources, e.g. almost our entire population believes in `chemical imbalances’, misinformed accidentally or on purpose, and demand to be treated with whatever. The euthanasia/assisted suicide issue is a major case in point. (In fact, as I once did, some people actually agree to ECT in the hope that it might kill them.) Where do you draw the line? When faced with litigation? Or is there a point where morality and ethics step in, to treat, but maybe to not treat? (furore therapeuticus)
    -You say, “ECT is not the same as a head injury or a traumatic brain injury.”… Actually it is. It uses an external force sufficient to cause a disturbance of normal brain function. In the case of ECT the force is great enough to cause a convulsion and render the individual unconscious. It is followed by a period of confusion, memory and cognitive disturbance. Not whether. but how much, for how long is the issue. Brain injury causes memory loss. It is accepted that memory dysfunction is a problem with ECT and while you claim Benzos do it too, then they are causing brain injury as well. But as I seem to have too say over and over again, one bad thing + another bad thing = TWO bad things. They do not cancel each other out.
    Max Fink, Psychiatrist, your own mentor stated in 1989 (and often after that) “… brain dysfunction is not a ‘complication’ or ‘side-effect’ but the sine qua non (an” indispensable and essential action”) of the mode of action’…The basis of improvement is “similar to that of craniocerebral trauma (head injury).”
    -You say, “It’s pretty rare to have euphoria”: Once again we have interpretations. When does affable apathy translate as euphoria? Do you mean `euphoria’ as the dictionary states, “a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness”, or the more measured- “a feeling of well-being, often seen following cerebral disturbance”, (concussion euphoria). Mind you the emergence of ECT created mania could perhaps fit the bill here. I know of one man (who did not have bipolar before or after) who said he felt high/manic for a year following ECT-it was great but he knew he wasn’t `right’.
    Yoy say, “People with Head Injuries or TBI who are usually brittle, anxious and unhappy”…To describe people with head injuries this way is simplistic and limiting. There are many presentations of head injury. A few common conditions are: disinhibition, over-confidence, garrulous, impulsive, emotionally labile, selfish, demanding, lazy, aggressive, among others. Then we have the major problem of anosognosia where people are unaware or deny that they are injured or changed. This includes a significant number of ECT survivors as their families will attest,
    And still the marker for ECT brain damage is memory disturbance. “The most common cognitive impairment among severely head-injured patients is memory loss, characterized by some loss of specific memories and the partial inability to form or store new ones.”
    And it doesn’t stop there: A review of 25 years of treating survivors of brain injury in a university of Texas medical school study, shows that brain injury is a chronic ongoing process rather then a one time injury, as traditionally thought.
    In the American Journal of Psychiatry, (Bryant R. A. et al. 2010) “a study involving patients who had suffered mild traumatic brain injury (MmTBI) studied to see if new psychiatric disorders occurred after injury. Measurements three and twelve months post injury showed that 22% of the patients developed a psychiatric disorder they had not experience before injury, the most common being depression 9%, generalized anxiety disorder 9%, post traumatic stress disorder 6% and agoraphobia 6%. Other studies have shown higher rates.” Perhaps ECT is causing/exacerbating problems and this is leading to the increased, instead of reduced, suicide rates in ECT recipients? (Munk-Olsen 2007).
    Interestingly they don’t extend their definition to include those they injure with their own endorsed treatment. This is denial at its best!
    -You say, “Its the convulsion that makes the difference in ECT it seems”… “it seems?” The evidence has always shown that where the power in ECT is reduced, though a convulsion occurs, “improvement” doesn’t. The failure of the early brief pulse machines illustrates that. They were devised to reduce the damage being done by changing the way the charge was delivered and reducing the amount of electricity needed to produce the `therapeutic’ convulsion. It did this, but the `improvement’ was not forthcoming.
    I think we are all well aware that not everyone benefits from any treatment, or indeed that some people benefit from every treatment, but the evidence for ECT points at harm to the majority, if not all, and that it benefits only a few for a very short time. Your own reservations confirm that. Is it ethical to risk using it at all when so many doctors don’t see any need to use it al all?
    When I was young I once tried to argue with a Creationist. I swore I’d never do that again, the frustration wasn’t worth it. I have not pursued this to convert you, David Healy, but to alert people that there are two sides to the story of ECT.
    If this is not censored, and I appreciate that you haven’t done that to date, I suggest interested people read “The Effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review by John Read & Richard Bentall 2010”
    People should really respect their opponents until proven stupid, shouldn’t they? Ron Pies, big time US psychiatrist just wrote for the 2nd time, that well-informed psychiatrists and respectable psychiatric institutions NEVER supported the `chemical imbalance’ “theory. He was shot down in 2012 by Phil Hickey & this time by Robert Whitaker in MIA – who’s dumb?
    I also replied to Debra, but am about to have another go at her. I don’t think she’s a real person. There are just too many holes in her story and she keeps trying to plug them but not getting it quite right.


    • Posted by Truth on October 19, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Deirdre, you amaze me again and again. The profound logic and clarity you use in deconstructing all of David Healy’s truly ridiculous claims and comments and the extensive evidence you present to support every statement must truly irritate the good doctor, silver tongued brilliant charmer that he is, used to all those accolades and standing behind the defences that ” it is the relationship that is harmful, not the ECT” (makes me gag; think of all those who thought they had a good relationship or trust a ‘doctor’ only to be injured) and ” people just need to be informed of the hazards so they can make good choices”.

      HOW does he think this works when HE is spreading DISINFORMATION about ECT and DENYING it is a craniocerebral trauma or causes brain damage??? Does he NOT get the problem with this, the disconnect? How does he think that people are influenced by his claims about people “needing” ECT or the miracle ECT patients previously stuporous doing crossword puzzles (but perhaps not aware they have a husband..)Why, if he is all about “making the risks and hazards KNOWN”doesn’t he propose a mandatory consent form CLEARLY warning : “ECT may cause brain damage, permanent amnesia, cognitive dysfunction, personality change, loss of IQ, blunting of emotions”??? Why doesn’t it list: Max Fink, ECT expert, states ECT is an “organic insult”, and achieves its effect through brain injury? Why not make it mandatory patients read Bentall and Read’s study or a summary of Sackheim’s study before signing up? Is this not part of being certain they are “truly informed”?

      I REALLY do not get it; HOW can this man PRETEND he does not know the truth about ECT after being presented with the mountains of evidence and survivor testimonies?? He can’t see he is the Dr.Pies of ECT?? Is he just willing to let others see that he must actually be DUMB, since a village idiot could draw the proper and obvious conclusions about ECT as a barbaric assault causing brain damage and increasing risk of suicide, but he can’t??? He doesn’t mind that he looks ingenuous and stupid and deceitful??

      When he rants on about “I have never called for a treatment to be banned” I ask about thalidomide and lobotomy, insulin comas… Yup, just WARN people, should be enough, hey Dr. Healy?? In David Healy’s world lobotomy should still be a treatment option!! Am I the only one who thinks this is scary?

      And, his primary confusion, of course, is his calling an electrical closed head injury assault on the brain a “treatment”. It is “treatment” in the same way multiple two by fours smashing the head is a treatment for depression, like amputation is a valid medical treatment for nose picking.
      I find that Healy rarely answers the list of questions posed and plays the, as you said, “benzos cause brain damage too” or “smaller numbers of people are damaged” cards. Sort of the one evil justifies or cancels out another. Your comment about the sexual assault victims being smaller in number was a good analogy.
      I really think he REFUSES to see the real injuries ( as you said, he isn’t looking or has a really warped view of what a “disturbing case” entails, possibly total retardation or death!) or he would not DUMBLY be babbling about how hard it is to “tease out what memory ‘issues’ can be traced to ECT”. Unreal. Yes, this is what the brain damaged ECT victim says happened and his relatives corroborate that. A direct link between ECT and massive injury. NO evidence of this before. One and one equals what? Healy insisting this is just not true!! It needs to be “teased out”.

      Patient:” Dave, I had ZERO cognitive or memory problems before ECT, Immediately after, I am practically a vegetable. Years of memory loss. Can’t read or think or do my job. I had minimal drugs give to me.”
      Dr. Healy: “Well, it is probably retroactive benzo damage or those pesky anesthetics you had! Oh, and have you ever eaten a single statin or a florquinolone?? That must be it, man! You have statin-anesthetic induced cognitive dysfunction and amnesia!! I am so glad I teased this out. It seemed like such a mystery, since ECT is like penicillin and truly God’s gift to mankind! You just stop eating those statins so you don’t get more brain damage!!”
      Yes, David, almost every SSRI-induced reported suicidial, psychotic, homicidal reaction needs to be “teased out” to discover if it was just the potato each victim ate two days before the shooting or suicide! It probably was! Ask GSK! You can’t be listening to those deluded patients.
      Healy is effectively an “ECT denier”, in the vein of the Holocaust denier. In fact that should be part of his title: David Healy, ECT Denier extrordinaire!

      HOW to oppose his disinformation campaign, how to counteract the terrible harms people like he and Eddie “let’s zap kids with ECT” Shorter are perpetuating with their defence of and support of ECT?? They, unlike Robert Whitaker, are truly a “menace” to the safety of vulnerable people, including children.

      I wonder if Whitaker agrees with Healy’s conclusion he is “wrong about ECT” and that sometimes books that are “wrong” (like ‘Bobs’s!) are still “helpful”. Like his and Shorters book on shock is wrong, but probably could be “helpful” in starting fires or as a doorstop.
      I just get more pissed off every time I read another of his smooth deflections and stupid comments. And, WHAT motivates someone to take such an obviously unpopular stance and live in denial?? I really am perplexed.

      Looking forward to you posting your response to Healy on the Healy website along with your reaction to Debra’s comments.
      I also have to ask, how can you be this articulate and witty after 87 ECT?? In a way, even if you state you now have medical proof of brain injury and cerebral atrophy, qualifying you for “cognitive rehabilitation”, you are sort of evidence Healy can give that, like Linda Healy, you are in “pretty good shape”, she able to “write a book”, you able to present your arguments coherently. And really, you do admit to years of chowing down on various drugs, so how can you prove that the damage is not due to “sero kill”? I mean, antipsychotics cause those kinds of brain injuries too, he might suggest.


      • Posted by Truth on October 27, 2015 at 1:26 am

        Hello, Deirdre,
        I think Healy has run out of patience with all the posts condemning his stance and his comments, and providing the references and evidence that he is misrepresenting ECT and ignoring the monstrous harms it causes.
        My last post, in response to Dr. T did not make it past moderation.
        Did you post your comments and were they accepted or are you being blocked and censored also?
        I recently read an article by Risa Sugarman in Huffpost called: A Case for ECT. This lovely young woman, medicated with antidepressants for 20 years and pounded by the hormonal effects of multiple fertilization procedures, agreed to ECT after watching a DVD and being given “assurances” by wonderful pro-ECT consultants. She says the procedure helped save her life, improved her cognition, and made her a better version of herself. She had 23 in about 7 months? It is upsetting that other poor desperate people looking for hope will be influenced by this article.

        Flash forward 6 months. She is deeply depressed in a worse way (which is of course recovery from her initial brain damage from ECT) and rounds of drugs aren’t “working”(because they are just toxic poisons, not “medicines” that treat anything) so, of course, she is getting more ECT. No warning what she is really having done to her; her husband and family obviously misinformed and mislead by the “team” of “warm and supportive” nurses and doctors who just love “helping” people by causing them electrical head concussions bc they are that ignorant and uneducated and could not differentiate between stunned organic brain injury and “better” if they tried.
        If you have the time, can you read her blog posts for Oct. on her sillyillymama.blogspot.com?? Is it wrong to send a comment warning her that she is being brain damaged with each assault?? Is this something we should be doing to try to inform and protect the victims of these lunatics whose “work” Healy supports? Or do we just ignore them and let the brain damage continue??
        I appreciated your posts to Julie Hersh’s site and I respect her for leaving them up. I see, however, she said nothing more in response to your comments or mine.

  104. Posted by Truth on October 27, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Well, I really tried. Posted a comment to Risa Sugarmans blog. Was respectful. Simply listed 4 resources, articles she and her loved ones should read to inform themselves and help protect her. No scare tactics, did not rant about or even mention brain injury or amnesia. The comment was deleted within 3 minutes of being posted. Why does this happen? I wish to god someone had had the compassion to warn me.

    I can see someone not knowing the truth about ECT, but if you ARE being warned and informed, WHY would you reject this?? Are the doctors and nurses telling you this is crap, conspiracy theory, the ravings of Scientologists? I have tried to warn and educate 4 people who have angrily and stubbornly rejected my efforts or hurriedly wiped my comments away. What is going on?


  105. My comment is still up there,

    ‘Electroshock is temporary euphoria and permanent brain damage. The more you have, the more damaged you become. http://www.ectresources.org

    but maybe she is in the recovery suite. It loggeg as 2.32pm (7 hours behind UK). I wonder if this is really the person writing. Surely you would not be able to write after a week of electroshock? Would they really just give it for two weeks? Maybe this is fiction.


  106. Posted by Truth on October 27, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Cheryl, thanks for trying. See your comments to Risa are still up for three of her posts. I tried another, will see if it stays. Doubtful.
    Yes, you can write, but you will not recall doing it later. You speak, you do things, just in a stunned state.
    If you read her posts, she speaks of having 12 ECT last summer over 5 weeks with only a bit of fuzziness and word finding difficulty that resolved. Think she did maintenance for 10 more till this April? Still fine. Maybe low voltage unilaterals aren’t that invasive or brain damaging?? Maybe she will survive?
    So, if this is week 2, will there be another 2-3 weeks more after, as previously?
    Still do not know why people who are warned, given resources, stats, research, do not stop???
    Is warning her cruel and troll like behavior that upsets her when she feels committed to this and trusts in her doctors and just doesn’t need the stress? Why is she not directing her family to look into this?


  107. Posted by deeeo42d on October 28, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Truth, Neither of my last 2 posts made it. I didn’t think they would. The 1st one, I think demolished his arguments, and the 2nd one I think he’s aware that `Debra Rees’ has been sprung. In fact, it shows he knows we’re right, and he’s afraid we’re exposing his bais. Not a good look for a Messiah. I’m thinking of approaching MIA with a revamped version of the last one. Also there is a post by a psychiatrist who never does ECT, who is already weaning people off drugs (there are 12 in Melbourne who say they don’t prescribe psychotropics, so it is starting), and doesn’t believe in endogenous depression (as I never did), just that people don’t know, or don’t want to know, why. He says he would never prescribe ECT for himself so he would never prescribe it for anyone else. A man who seems to have the big 3, humility, insight and empathy, (HIE) a breath of fresh air and probably steers clear of his colleagues. Maybe Healy allowed that one to show he’s a reasonable man?
    Interesting that this lady has had the miracle treatment, including maintenance and STILL she’s not well! Maybe she should look at this: “A review of 25 years of treating survivors of brain injury in a university of Texas medical school study, shows that brain injury is a chronic ongoing process rather then a one time injury, as traditionally thought.
In the American Journal of Psychiatry, (Bryant R. A. et al. 2010) “…a study involving patients who had suffered mild traumatic brain injury (MmTBI) studied to see if new psychiatric disorders occurred after injury. Measurements three and twelve months post injury showed that 22% of the patients developed a psychiatric disorder they had not experienced before injury, the most common being depression 9%, generalized anxiety disorder 9%, post traumatic stress disorder 6% and agoraphobia 6%. Other studies have shown higher rates.”
    MmTBI doesn’t even mean becoming unconscious, let alone having a convulsion. ECT can lead to a coma for up to 20 minutes, + a convulsion! How is it that people don’t see it? But maybe this is one reason: “University of Adelaide medical student Laura Deveson said she was expecting something traumatic when she witnessed an ECT procedure, and was startled by how **little reaction there was. “The reaction on the body was all so tiny we wondered … Is that it? Is it done?” she said. “Just watching for the curl of the toes, that’s about as much as you see in the whole body.” She clearly didn’t look at the EEG, or meet the person afterwards, so she will go on to view ECT as benign and us as scaremongers. Here is another posted by Jock McLaren “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. (Upton Sinclair) & “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” (Mark Twain). Jock McLaren is a good read and an oxymoron, an intelligent, critical thinking psychiatrist. (He has a blog Niall McLaren – Australian psychiatrist)


    • Posted by Truth on October 28, 2015 at 10:54 am

      No surprised. You have completely discredited everything Healy has said. His “arguments”, “stories” have been demolished by you time and again. He just looks “brittle” and defensive. Think readers are sick of the “benzo” blame and the story of the stuporose people later doing crosswords.

      How likely is it that MIA would publish one of your pieces? You certainly have the background and research chops.

      But still for all our posting, is anything at all being done or changing? No. Very sad. Just like the woman I described above who is glad she can have ECT and praising these “warm, professional, supportive” nurses without connecting that they are supporting the assault and injury of her brain. Just sickening. I am done.
      My losses and injuries are so severe that I find it impossible to recall what I have written or read…hope your cognitive rehabilitation is useful to you.


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