"All ECT (electric shock) does is produce brain damage. ...If you want brain damage, it's your prerogative... there's no more effective way than ECT. It's more effective than a car wreck, or getting hit with a blunt instrument."1. - Dr. John Friedberg, Neurologist
"Well, 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."2. - Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize-winning author who killed himself after complaining that psychiatric electric shocks had ruined his career by destroying his memory.
"ECT is one of a number of drastic psychiatric treatments, including insulin coma and psychosurgery, that relieve suffering temporarily. All of them "work" by destroying brain tissue. That is their common denominator."
- Committee for Truth in Psychiatry
The History of ECT
The story of electric shock* began in 1938, when Italian psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti visited a Rome slaughterhouse to see what could be learned from the method that was employed to butcher hogs. In Cerletti's own words, "As soon as the hogs were clamped by the [electric] tongs, they fell unconscious, stiffened, then after a few seconds they were shaken by convulsions.... During this period of unconsciousness (epileptic coma), the butcher stabbed and bled the animals without difficulty....
"At this point I felt we could venture to experiment on man, and I instructed my assistants to be on the alert for the selection of a suitable subject."
Cerletti's first victim was provided by the local police - a man described by Cerletti as "lucid and well-oriented." After surviving the first blast without losing consciousness, the victim overheard Cerletti discussing a second application with a higher voltage. He begged Cerletti, "Non una seconda! Mortifierel" ("Not another one! It will kill me!")
Ignoring the objections of his assistants, Cerletti increased the voltage and duration and fired again. With the "successful" electrically induced convulsion of his victim, Ugo Cerletti brought about the application of hog-slaughtering skills to humans, creating one of the most brutal techniques of psychiatry.3.
*Electric shock is also called electro-convulsive "therapy" or treatment (ECT), electroshock therapy or electric shock treatment (EST), electrostimulation, and electrolytic therapy (ELT). All are euphemistic terms for the same process: sending a searing blast of electricity through the brain in order to alter behavior. Read the electrical details of exactly how it is done.
Many people think that shock treatment is no longer used. This is not so. ECT has been experiencing a resurgence within the psychiatric community, especially as a way to keep elderly folks quiet and manageable in nursing homes.
In his detailed and extensive article, Electroshock: Scientific, Ethical, and Political Issues, Peter Breggin states:
Contemporary ECT is more dangerous since the current doses are larger than those employed in earlier clinical and research studies. Elderly women, an especially vulnerable group, are becoming the most common target of ECT. Because of the lopsided risk/benefit ratio, because it is fundamentally traumatic in nature, because so many of the patients are vulnerable and unable to protect themselves, and because advocates of ECT fail to provide informed consent to patients - ECT should be banned.
An elderly person's physical strength is already decreased without the added harm and incredible stress put on them by running high voltage current through their skulls. It is also becoming more common as a "solution" to handle depression with children.
"Drugs do... quiet them down. So does a lead pipe to the head".4. -Dr. Jerome Avron Associate Professor of Social Medicine at Harvard University
Psychiatric Solutions - Who Really Benefits?
As with most psychiatric "solutions", the "treatment" is more often used to make life easier on the people around the patient than to actually help the patient themselves. This same usage also shows up in the drugging of children in an attempt to correct their wild or unwanted behavior. The drugs aren't intended to help the child or to enable them to become happier, effective and more responsible. The drugs are given to alter their behavior so their parents, teachers and associates don't have such a problem to deal with. It is very much an oppressive practice aimed at controlling behavior that others find undesirable. Psychiatric treatment never addresses the person themselves, their problems, and what could be done to help them handle the problems they actually have with their own mind and life. Psychiatry lost sight of the mind and the actual person many years ago.
Religion, counseling, support groups, and psychotherapies address the person themselves and work to find solutions to the person's own difficulties with life. This is not to say these alternative fields are without flaws or difficulties, but psychiatry has nothing to do with addressing the actual person themselves (which is the correct approach). Instead, psychiatric solutions aim at modifying and controlling behavior with no attention placed on the person's own inner world of thought, feelings, fears, hopes, dreams and goals. Simply, psychiatric solutions suppress the person's natural thought processes, feelings, and will, and it is this effect which causes the apparent "cure". All psychiatric drugs, shock treatments and lobotomy have a similar effect.
It might seem better that a patient quickly stops thoughts of suicide after mega-doses of an anti-depressive drug or ECT, but come on, let's not kid ourselves. The person is always adversely affected by the drugs or shock, and the sad truth is that the these methods are a fast and easy way out, thereby enabling others (parents, friends, teachers, associates, hospital staff) to not have to deal with the REAL issues and problems which the person is having with themselves and life.
Certain people can be so confused, depressed, suicidal or psychotic that the mental dullness, spiritual numbness, memory loss and emotional stifling of ECT may seem better in comparison. But there is no cure of anything and never will be.
Only in psychiatry would or could a "Ph.D" state that ECT will return people to wellness! In fact, if you hit 20 depressives or suicidals in the head with a baseball bat, some of them would claim to be "cured" and "feel better" afterwards. Let's try that next. But that says more about the pitiful state of the current human coindition about the efficacy of ECT! This is the level of "science" involved in psychiatry. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise - it is nothing else.
At no time does the patient "solve" their problems - in a drug induced dulling of thought, will and emotion, the problems are submerged, hidden further from view, and often then even harder to uncover and address at a later time with an approach which attempts to addresse the true source of the difficulties (the person's own mind). This is equally true for ECT.
ECT is one of the worse and permanently destructive methods used by psychiatry. Before heavy tranquilizers and muscle relaxers were used to render the patient completely immobile, shock treatments often caused broken vertebrae due to the severity of the force involved with electric shock. There is nothing mild about this "treatment". Slick advertising campaigns and glossy brochures cannot turn this very harmful procedure into a useful and safe one.
If a psychiatrist or mental health "professional" tells you that ECT is safe, ask him or her to let you watch as they themselves receive a "treatment". Their negative response should set your mind straight on the subject. If they do consent, then I suggest getting away from them as quickly as possible - they truly must be crazy as a loon to accept your proposal!
Electrical Force - Not Good For Living Things
A baseball bat strike to the head will cause a person to alter their behavior and become controllable. Repeated hits will quickly render them docile and easy to manage. This is not an invalid or simplistic analogy. ECT involves tremendous force applied to the body, brain and mind via strong electrical current. On a certain level bio-chemical processes are basically electrical. Nerve functioning is electrical in nature. ECT disrupts and confuses the electrical activity of the body and especially the brain (and associated mind). Research into "bio-electrical" energy fields around living organisms indicates energy patterns and flows around the body and organs which are not yet understood. Strong electrical jolts of ECT most likely have negative and harmful effects to these energy fields, the purpose of which modern science barely understands.
No psychiatrist could ever even start to guess at how ECT "works" and gets it's "results". This is also equally true for the effects of psychiatric drugs. There are various "theories", but these are the result of wishful thinking, guessing and contrived scientific presentations. Psychiatry long ago gave up attempting to identify or isolate the "mind", much less do anything to help one. This should seem odd to the reader as we each have a mind, know it well, and probably often find it more real than anything else we experience. Psychology should have something to do with a mind (it used to before Wilhelm Wundt redefined the subject). A legitimate "mental" science would involve investigating, experimenting, and coming up with honest solutions towards helping a mind. But this approach has nothing to do with modern psychiatric theories and practices.
But All These Mental Diseases Exist . . . Don't They?
Remember, the "therapy" known as ECT was discovered observing a slaughterhouse! There is no more "science" to it than that. Keep it simple when trying to understand the subject of psychiatry. Psychiatric authorities would like you to believe the "mind" and human behavior are very complex and complicated subjects, because this justifies their years of "education" and maintains them in their pretended positions of authority. Don't fall for it. High voltage current applied to the skull and brain are barbaric techniques used by a decadent profession. That's the truth in a nutshell. Yes, people have problems. No, ECT doesn't honestly address any actual source of these problems and doesn't legitimately "solve" them either.
If you are a greedy man with a rich wife who has been experiencing depression, then it might be a "solution" to your money problems to arrange to get her committed and shocked 15 or 20 times. Then it isn't much of a stretch to obtain power of attorney over her assets and "inherit" her entire fortune! This and similar things have been done before. So, there actually are some "uses" for psychiatry and ECT. But they aren't "helpful" to the victim and are usually self-serving, even if only to the financial interests of psychiatrists and shock machine manufacturers.
Yes, it is true that people do have problems with their own mind, with life and with other people. That is the nature of life and living. Some have it easier than others and some have it real bad. At times it may seem that shocking (or drugging) a person into oblivion is better than the suicidal or destructive behavior they were experiencing previously. But make no mistake about it - the techniques are oppressive, very harmful and often irreversible. These approaches 1) fail to address any actual source of the problems they pretend to "cure" or "handle", and 2) the techniques confuse the mind further making any legitimate future attempts at correcting the problem(s) that much more difficult.
Seeing a Problem and Fixing It Are Two Different Things
Realize that just because an actual mental or emotional problem exists and may even be very severe and upsetting to many people does NOT imply that the suggested "solution" (ECT, Drugs, etc.) presented to you by a psychiatric "professional" is safe, useful or effective in any way. Because a psychiatrist recognizes and names a specific mental condition or behavior in NO WAY implies that he knows anything or can do anything effective about it. Seeing that a person is exceptional depressed has nothing to do with understanding why they are depressed and how to solve this problem of depression. The psychiatrists and drug companies would like you to believe they have figured it all out, but they have not. Not at all! For more information on this see the link in the paragraph title above.
Psychiatric "Solutions" - The Quick Fix
All too often the "psychiatric" solution is chosen because the alternative would be too time consuming for too many other people. Examples:
1) The noisy old woman who is constantly found wandering in and out of the nursing home takes up too much staff time, so a few well placed shocks render her more controllable - and she doesn't wander nearly as much. It's easier on the staff and has absolutely nothing to do with addressing her own life & viewpoint -she's probably bored stiff! But the doctor and hospital get a hefty check every time the electricity is applied to her skull. And the staff don't have to work as hard and worry about her wandering off.
2) A middle aged woman, recently divorced, has been extremely depressed, unable to go to work, and thinking seriously of killing herself. Zapping her 4 or 5 times confuses her enough that she can't even recall why she would have wanted to kill herself. She also can't recall the names of her two pet dogs and where she went for vacation three years ago. (There is alwaysmemory loss with ECT; memory 2, memory 3) It would have taken much more time, confront and care for someone to sit down with her and address her real problems, and work out solutions according to her honest thoughts, feelings, goals, and encouraging personal responsibility. Of course, this takes time and would require someone with honest care and concern for her. It would also require an approach to life which accepts the concept of personal responsibility - the modern psychological and psychiatric views deny personal responsibility completely. They say, "you have a 'mental disease', it's not your fault, and there's nothing you can do except take these drugs or receive ECT".
3) Drugging or shocking 5 year old Billy renders him calm and quiet. This is much more acceptable than his constant yelling, running, temper tantrums and disappearances. No psychiatrist will pretend to know or explain why Billy does what he does in the first place. But giving him a daily tranquilizer or a few jolts keeps him quiet and makes life easier for the rest of us. Don't kid yourself. Billy's treatment has nothing to do with helping little Billy. It's fast, convenient, and self-serving for others. This is a very major part of the attractiveness of psychiatric treatments.
Do you see the difference? In today's fast-paced, instant-results demanding world, the "psychiatric" solution requires little time and effort, and seems to give immediate results. It is only an apparency (something which appears to be true but actually is not). There is a trade-off, and it is a very large trade-off. Even the apparent benefits (such as the reduction of depression) always fade quickly and necessitate further shocking or drugging. The psychiatric "treatment" generally always leads to MORE psychiatric "treatment". Once on the psychiatric treadmill, the system encourages one to stay on and get more involved with additonal psychiatric treatments. More money for them and more damage to you.
ECT doesn't help the recipient and is extremely harmful. Brain damage, brain dysfunction and memory loss are common despite psychiatric industry PR to the contrary. In fact, it is the harm caused by the "treatment" which actually produces the "cure" and not any imaginary correction of the elusive "chemical imbalance" or "neurological disorder". (See damage 1, damage 2, damage 3, dysfunction) Don't allow yourself or anyone you know to undergo it for any reason. It's controlled "electrocution" - not enough to kill, but certainly enough to cause major damage. All psychiatric treatments get their apparent "results" by causing brain damage or dysfunction to some degree.. Without the brain damage or dysfunction caused by the psychiatric treatment, whether overt brain surgery, drugs or ECT, there would be no "results" (see information on iatrogenic damage and dysfucntion,damage is the cause of the "cure"). Care for, listen to, spend time with, and love the person with the problems. Don't shock them.
Peter Breggin, M.D., following many years of involvement in the field of "mental health" states it clearly:
"... I began to realize that lobotomy differs little in principle from the most potent psychiatric drugs and from electroshock. All of the major psychiatric treatments work by producing brain dysfunction, and too often they result in lobotomylike effects and permanent damage. I discovered that biopsychiatry resists criticism of any one of its theories and physical interventions because all of them rest upon the same flawed principles and harmful practices."
"I had learned as a college student that love and care, and supporting the pateint's self-determinism, were the most effective elements in helping people, even in rehabilitating "lost souls" on the back wards of state mental hospitals". (Toxic Psychiatry, Chapter 1: Psychiatry Out Of Control)
Psycho-Mythology: Believed Completely by Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists and psychiatric organizations will promote ECT as a "safe" and " modern" tool for handling various psychiatric "disorders". Realize they believe this, despite the fact that they are 100% wrong. Believing in something has never implied any truth about what someone or some group believes in. Many people are also seduced by the "scientific" explanations for modern psychiatric theories such as "chemical brain imbalances" and "bad genes". Neither of these things have ever been observed and especially not in relation to any "mental illness" or "disorder". These ideas are THEORIES and ONLY theories. They are assumed and inferred. They are somebody's cute idea which the rest of us have accepted as "reality". Discover more about how modern psychiatry is a 20th century mythology, complete with it's own nomenclature and not based upon any facts. Clcik on the paragraph title link above.
Rights - Freedom of Choice
The psychiatric field uses the "freedom of choice" argument claiming "all people must have access to safe and effective treatments for those people who choose them". This is true - people should have access to SAFE and EFFECTIVE treatments, but these methods are NOT safe or effective. They are promoted as safe and effective due to ignorance, miseducation, and outright deception by those profiting from the use of ECT. Using this argument for psychiatric treatments such as ECT is terribly ironic and quite absurd. This is also true for psychiatric drugs.
They view any attempt by honest and decent people to stop brutal and cruel psychiatric treatments (such as ECT) as "terrible violations of an individual's civil rights". In this degraded world, it seems one should have the "right" to choose any behavior or involve themselves in any activity, no matter how harmful, absurd or demeaning to themselves or others. It's really quite crazy. The smiling, kind, and seemingly caring "health care professional" will stand there arguing endlessly to "protect the rights of every citizen to preserve easy access to whatever safe and effective treatment one chooses". It will often sound very convincing. But the "treatments" he is fighting to protect are unworkable, dangerous, and destructive. What he is really fighting for is his own personal profits, and those of the drug companies and the shock equipment manufacturers.
Again, the public has been completely duped into believing ECT is a valid "treatment". In their misguided understanding it seems correct for them to fight and demand "access to safe and effective treatments". They believe this just as the psychiatrists do. It is difficult for people to accept that they have been completely misled and following a false system of thought. It can make one feel like a fool. But it is better to feel like a fool for a short period of time than to destroy your or another's mind and personality with ECT.
ECT IS NOT SAFE or EFFECTIVE, and no amount of misinformation, PR,contrived studies, belief by practitioners (delusion) or ignorance will make them otherwise.
ECT should be banned. Find out more reasons why.
Toward the end of his life, recalling the first time he had tried the treatment on a human being, Professor Ugo Cerletti remarked to a colleague:
"When I saw the patient's reaction, I thought to myself: This ought to be abolished!"5
If he had only said and done something in the beginning . . .
The only option for anyone presented with a "psychiatric solution" is to research the subject personally. There is no other avenue or short-cut. Don't listen only to a psychiatrist and assume he or she is giving you the "truth" about the subject. He may be telling you what he honestly believes, but believing something has never meant what is believed is true. Learn the facts for yourself and when you do...
Say NO to psychiatry!
Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Role of the FDA Today! by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
Electroshock, Its Brain-Disabling Effects by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
History of Shock Treatment by Leonard Roy Frank
Toxic Psychiatry : Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the New Psychiatry by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
The Manufacture of Madness : A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movements by Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Professor
Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry : An Inquiry into the Social Uses of Mental Health Practices by Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Professor
Shock Treatment Is Not Good for Your Brain by John Friedberg
Bedlam : Greed, Profiteering, and Fraud in a Mental Health System Gone Crazy by Joe Sharkey
ECT Internet Resources
ECT Links of Interest - Damage, Memory Loss, Horror Stories
2. A.E. Hotchner, Papa Hemingway, (New York: Bantam, 1967), pgs. 308-334, quoted in The History of Shock Treatment, edited by Leonard R. Frank, (San Francisco 1978), pg. 70.
3. Mike Masterson & Chuck Cook, "Drugs link in deaths often undetected," series on "Drugging Our Elderly," The Arizona Republic, 26 June 1988.
4. Thomas Szasz, "From the slaughterhouse to the madhouse," Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, Vol. 8, (Spring, 1971), pgs. 64-67; David J. Impastato, "The story of the first electroshock treatment," American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 116 (June, 1960), pgs. 1113-1114; both quoted in The History of Shock Treatment, cited above at note 2., pgs. 8-10.
5. Quoted in Frank J. Ayd, Jr., Guest editorial: Ugo Cerletti, M.D., 1877-1963, Psychosomatics, 4: A/6-A/7 (Nov.-Dec.), 1963