Shock and Suicide, Part 2: The Two Sides of ECT

Trigger warnings: 
details of suicide relating to electroshock 
risks and details of effects of electroshock
pro-shock comments

 

 

In 2011, Psychiatrist and shock proponent Sarah Lisanby delivered an impassioned speech to the FDA for shock machines safety reclassification hearings.

She appealed to her authority as a credentialed, practicing psychiatrist as well as the authority and logic of scientific studies that form the foundation she based her claims of shocks safety and its “miraculous healing properties” on. (made available to those in attendance, but absent from the speech transcript posted on psych central website).

Lisanby pulled at the heartstrings with stories of hopelessly depressed people un-helped by drugs, on the brink of suicide. People that may be deprived of this “lifesaving treatment,” due to lack of access created by  safety restriction barriers, and archaic beliefs and prejudices against this “treatment” because of its dark, violent past.

Dr. Lisanby then went deeper down the emotional and authority appeal road by telling a first-hand experience with a loved one whose life she claimed was saved by electroshock.

Read the entire transcript, here

Every time I read this speech, besides stirring up a mix of anger, nausea and panic, I’m perplexed because the ECT she’s talking about is nothing like the ECT I, and countless other survivors have experienced.

The rest of the post will explore the two sides of ECT by highlighting the  contrast between Dr. Lisanby’s claims that ECT is life-saving and miraculous, with various experts and people whose lives have been destroyed or in some cases, ended by this supposedly “life saving procedure.”

The two sides of ECT

Depression kills while ECT saves lives. “

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11

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“Scientific evidence and peer-reviewed medical literature supports the safety and efficacy of ECT.”

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11

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“…the sham ECT literature supports the conclusions that: real ECT is no more effective than placebo, except during the period of time the ECT is being administered; even that difference is modest; a modest amount of cost is required for the overall cost-benefit of ECT to be negative; and, the effectiveness of ECT is overendorsed repeatedly in the psychiatric literature up to the present.”

~Colin A. Ross, MD, The Sham ECT Literature: Implications for Consent to ECT 

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“1975— In former times, “classical” shock treatments commonly caused bone fractures among those racked by the violent physical convulsions. Although roughly 10 percent of today’s patients still get such unmodified ECT, most now first receive a sleep-inducing barbiturate like sodium pentothal, and the muscle-paralyzing agent succinylcholine, or Anectine. While an electrical storm rages unabated in the brain, these drugs suppress its outward manifestations, sparing witnesses the terrifying spectacle the body’s violent spasms.

These “improvements” are like the flowers planted at Buchenwald. Besides, they create their own risks, and don’t always work. The muscle paralyzer can cause prolonged

failure to breathe and cardiac shock. The paralysis may also intensify the horror of the patient’s experience….

While barbiturates make for a smoother trip into unconsciousness, they also increase the chances of death by choking. Although they do produce sleep, they do not bring a complete loss of feeling. Among former ECT patients I interviewed, many could recall the instant of shock itself, even though unable to recall surrounding events. One young man reported: “That pain went right through your head. All you’re aware of is this jolting pain going through your mind like an electric crowbar”

~John  Friedberg, MD, Shock Quotationary

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“Informed consent is an important part of the [ECT] process.”

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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“A basic principal of medicine, the principal of informed consent, is missing in psychiatry. This is certainly the case with what we have politely referred to here by psychiatry’s chosen name, electroconvulsive therapy. It should be evident now that this practice does not deserve its euphemistic title.

The brain is being shocked. The result is a grand mal seizure, memory loss, and brain damage. Psychiatry has not been simply negligent in researching and reporting these primary effects. It has pursued a policy designed to lead away from the truth, often avoiding study designs that might produce results unfavorable to shock.

It has made false claims unsupported by published 37 research. It has deliberately deceived. It has looked away and remained silent while millions have been harmed.”

~Shock Treatment: Efficacy, Memory Loss, and Brain Damage – Psychiatry’s Don’t Look, Don’t Tell Policy Richard A. Warner 

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“When depression goes untreated or when it is ineffectively treated, it can cause extreme suffering and even death by suicide.”

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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“ECT is rapidly effective against suicidal impulses. Without ECT, suicidal patients would have few effective options left.”

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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“If ECT were to disappear tomorrow, those who are suffering already and who have no effective alternatives are precisely the ones who would suffer the most. Their families, their children, their loved ones, their friends, and their communities would suffer. “

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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“Until a safe alternative that matches or exceeds the therapeutic spectrum of ECT comes along, threatening or restricting its availability would only serve to take away the last hope from those who are already suffering from hopelessness. “

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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Sarah Lisanby closes her speech with a plea on behalf of patients,

“People whose lives have been affected by severe treatment- resistant depression deserve the best that medical science has to offer, and today that is ECT.”

~Psychiatrist Sarah Lisanby, FDA shock reclassification hearings, 1/27/11, psychcentral.com

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No, Dr. Lisanby, ECT is not the best treatment available for people suffering from severe “treatment resistant depression,” or any other condition its designated for.
Electroshock is a violent, destructive act dressed up as a medical procedure.
Having experienced shock myself, and witnessed how it’s destroyed countless other lives, one would think ECT would be reserved for, not vulnerable hurting people, but the most evil of criminals– those who deserves to be destroyed mentally, financially, emotionally and spiritually.
And even the worst criminals are protected from cruel inhumane treatment.

A side note

The purpose of Dr. Lisanby’s 2011 speech bears meaning today because there is a renewed push for shock devices safety to be downgraded from high risk class III to the same risk level as glasses and wheelchairs (class II). If you’re unfamiliar with this situation, click here to read more.
Survivors and allies have less than two months to speak out and stop this appalling safety downgrade.

my use of this information is my opinion and not intended to infringe on any copyright or trademark expressed

References

(2002). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/resources/consumerperspectives.pdf

Andre, L. (2009). Doctors of deception: What they don’t want you to know about shock treatment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Breggin, P. R. (1998, January). http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Breggin_1998_ECT__Overview.pdf. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Breggin_1998_ECT__Overview.pdf

Frank, L. R. (2006). http://psychiatrized.org/LeonardRoyFrank/FromTheFilesOfLeonardRoyFrank.htm. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.endofshock.com/102C_ECT.PDF

Hickey, P. (2006, November 21). http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/electroconvulsive-therapy-ect-effective/. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/electroconvulsive-therapy-ect-effective/

http://healthnet.umassmed.edu/mhealth/HAMD.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://healthnet.umassmed.edu/mhealth/HAMD.pdf

Lisanby, S. (2011, January 27). psychcentral. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/dr-sarah-lisanby-on-ect/

Riikka’s Story | aftershock. (2015). Retrieved January 5, 2016, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/riikkas-story/

Ross, C. (2006). http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Ross_2006___Sham_ECT_Literatures.pdf. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Ross_2006___Sham_ECT_Literatures.pdf

Tenney, L. (2015, December 30). madinamerica.com Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/12/shock-device-safe-as-eyeglasses-89-days-to-say-no/

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5 thoughts on “Shock and Suicide, Part 2: The Two Sides of ECT

  1. […] Zero mention of the people who oppose shock because they or their loved ones were uninformed, sometimes given the barbaric treatment against their will, and permanently damaged or killed by the devices they are promoting, struggle with permanent disability and subsequent employment and relationship loss. Many live in despair of such devastation, some are driven to suicide. […]

    Like

  2. […] Zero mention of the people who oppose shock because they or their loved ones were uninformed, sometimes given the barbaric treatment against their will, and permanently damaged or killed by the devices they are promoting, struggle with permanent disability and subsequent employment and relationship loss. Many live in despair of such devastation, some are driven to suicide. […]

    Like

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