The FDA’s alarming new push to downgrade electroshock machines to class II for people ages 18+ “who are treatment resistant or require rapid response,” makes it crucial to know what “treatment resistant,” means.
“Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or treatment-refractory depression is a term used in clinical psychiatry to describe cases of major depressive disorder (MDD) that do not respond adequately to appropriate courses of at least two antidepressants. “
Other sources may include psychotherapy unresponsiveness under the TRD banner.
The TRD label is instrumental in justifying electroshock- it’s why I had shock at age 17. This label is deeply problematic for sooooo many reasons, so for now I’m just going to focus on one aspect; drug efficacy.
The treatment resistant label implies that drugs like antidepressants, SSRI’s, etc., are proven effective medical treatments. This isn’t so.
In the book The Emperor’s New Drugs, Doctor Irving Kirsch analyzed drug studies data, breaks down the components and explains all the complex details involved in drug studies.
Kirsch more or less shows drugs perform no better than placebo. He also digs into the erroneous chemical imbalance theory and the downsides and risks to drugs.
His placebo explanations are also helpful in understanding its role in electroshock and how people may benefit from unrelated aspects of the “procedure.” How many aspects are never factored into shock studies like the effect of telling patients being told they’re given a life saving treatment, receiving anesthesia, or their problems given concerned recognition and attention.
As you’re taking in the FDA’s reclassification document and trying to understand the surrounding issues, consider the drug efficacy/ TRD angle. This pillar of the TRD label is flawed and unscientific.
In my own experience, drugs and their impact on my health were a contributing cause of my treatment resistant depression. My “miraculous” recovery from electroshock, was in part a change up in my pill cocktail that provided a temporary reprieve from the toxic pills I became dependent on at age 13 that had been wreaking havoc on body for years.
This respite was short lived because two years later, the new drugs would cause gastroparesis, bladder paralysis, and kidney problems (among other horrible side-effects). The gastroparesis alone caused endless crippling, excruciating, isolating pain which required narcotics, which I was on for 2 years. The combination of narcs and relentless pain for two years understandably led to severe, unresponsive depression.
My treatment resistant depression was partially caused and worsened by “medicine,” not some mysterious biological/mental condition and I haven’t even gotten to the suffering caused by shock induced permanent brain damage and disability…
Anyways, back to the book…
If you struggle with reading technical books, the Emperor’s New Drugs is available on Audible. If you don’t have an account, you can get this book for free by signing up. Also, it may be available via your local library’s media apps.
Balt, S. (n.d.). The Placebo Effect: It Just Gets Better and Better | Thought Broadcast. Retrieved December 29, 2015, from http://thoughtbroadcast.com/2011/02/13/the-placebo-effect-it-just-gets-better-and-better/
Federal Register | Neurological Devices; Reclassification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices Intended for Use in Treating Severe Major Depressive Episode in Patients 18 Years of Age and Older Who Are Treatment Resistant or Require a Rapid Response; Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Electroconvulsive Therapy for Certain Specified Intended Uses. (2015, December 29). Retrieved December 29, 2015, from https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/29/2015-32592/neurological-devices-reclassification-of-electroconvulsive-therapy-devices-intended-for-use-in#h-20
Hickey, P. (2013, November 21). Mad in America. Retrieved December 29, 2015, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/electroconvulsive-therapy-ect-effective/
Kirsch, I. (2010). The emperor’s new drugs: Exploding the antidepressant myth. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Ross, C. A. (2006). ectresources.org. Retrieved December 29, 2015, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Ross_2006___Sham_ECT_Literatures.pdf
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Treatment-resistant depression – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 29, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treatment-resistant_depression