ECT Pamphlets: Somatics

I’m starting a new series on ECT misinformation.

It’s will include a collection of ECT pamphlets, brochures, and websites from various companies and clinics promoting and/or offering the procedure.

They offer little or no mention of side effects, downplay risks and emphasize benefits. As with drug commercials or advertisements for any other procedure, they imply that more in-depth information will  be provided when the patient talks to their doctor.

Judging from my experience and the experience of others, this never happens. Patients never learn all the risks or if they are initially given this info, they forget soon after the first few treatments.

A while back I came across this first brochure made by Richard Abrams and Conrad Swartz for their shock machine company, Somatics.

It should be noted both men have serious financial conflicts of interest. They manufacturer shock machines, which Abrams promotes in a medical textbook he’s written, without disclosing that he profits from the use of the machines he recommends. Follow the links below to learn more.

Doctor’s financial stake in shock therapy

Thymatron website

ECT, the Thymatron, and Dr. Richard Abrams

Back to the pamphlet.

I’ve taken some screenshots of the most stunning claims on risks and benefits.

Is this portion of the brochure, safety is declared by one study and compared to the statistic to the unrelated occurrence, childbirth.

This is a common tactic; I had a shock doctor tell me before a treatment that it was safer than riding in a car or plane– I can’t remember which one.

The point is to compare a procedure to a common event to provide a relatable context to help the patient translate what these outcome numbers mean and how they apply to their situation.

This is a misleading use of statistics because the nature of the activities and their consequences are completely unrelated.

While the emphasis is on death rates, other things happen with these points of comparison.

First, it should be noted that childbirth is a natural occurrence; ECT is not.

Second, when a woman gives birth, there’s a host of risks: hemorrhaging, episiotomy, postpartum depression, etc and outcomes that don’t occur when one is put under anesthesia, given muscle relaxants and had enough electricity run through their head to cause a grand mal seizure and vice versa.

Same goes for car/plane transportation. With ECT the brain is always damaged. Not the case with regular vehicular transportation.

I was given a slightly more ‘conservative’ ‘1-10,000 deaths’ in the ECT sales pitch I received.

I was surprised years later when I found out that many studies varied in how data was collected and how many less optimistic stats existed.

This brochure would look very different if they took their statistics like those taken from states like Texas, which are required to report ECT patient deaths after up to 14 days  following ‘treatments.’ Their death statistic could vary between 1-1000 to 1-200!

Read more :

Leonard Frank electroshock Quotationary

Shock Treatment Is Not Good For the Brain

 

According to this pamphlet, the public image of cure by electrically induced convulsion has suffered because:

  • ECT was misused in the past
  • Movies inaccurately portray ECT. I’m surprised there’s no mention of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest; that’s usually the first thing mentioned in any shock related article
  • Pseudo-religious groups are making unscientific, invalid claims against psychiatry
  • 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.

So according to this pamphlet, memory loss is

  • is not experienced by most people
  • if it is it resolves in six months
  • doesn’t affect new learning
  • some studies show it actually improves new learning
  • memory problems are really caused by depression which electroshock fixes

The sentence that takes the cake: no long-term or persistent effects on intellectual abilities or memory capacity have been shown to occur

Really?! REALLY?!

In a Q&A for a neurobiology course I took last year, the instructor, in response to my question about her understanding of the effects of electroshocking the brain, said that new learning becomes more difficult.

Not that I needed to hear this from a degreed professional, as working memory loss and new learning are my biggest struggles.

As a college student, I could only take 6 credits per semester because for each of those credits, I had to record and replay lectures and textbook audio files over and over again, just to get the info into my head long enough to work with it. The hours this took essentially made me a full-time student.

This struggle isn’t exclusive to the classroom; it spills over to every aspect of my life. I’ve had to develop all kinds of strategies to get info in my head without driving everyone in my life crazy by constantly asking them to repeat xyz for the millionth time.

FYI, my last shock treatment was in 2007. I’ve made some gains over the last 9 years but have nowhere near the mental capacity I had before doctors repeatedly electrocuted my brain.

It’s not just me. One thing you see over and over again in reading shock survivor accounts are

  • long-term and short-term (working) memory loss
  • difficulty or inability to learn new things and retain information

 

black on white text reads: what you need to know about electroconvulsive therapy
Somatics ECT information brochure cover
You can find out what you really need to know about ECT by reading the resources listed below; not relying on biased promo brochures like this one.

Shock Treatment: Efficacy, Memory Loss, and Brain Damage – Psychiatry’s Don’t Look, Don’t Tell Policy

Doctors of Deception

The Shock Quotationary

The Irving Janis Study

Shock Treatment is Not Good for Your Brain

Peter Breggin ECT Resouce Center

Electroshock Its Brain-Disabling Effects

 Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing

Sham ECT literature

Final thoughts

How many people read this brochure, trusted the judgment of its creators, and chose ECT to treat their distress? How many of these people suffered life-altering brain damage? How many died from the procedure itself? How many became suicidal after being denied brain damage recognition and rehabilitation? How many followed through?

There are zero citations in this ‘info’ pamphlet. This isn’t  surprising as they aren’t really needed; patients in our society are trained to implicitly trust doctors so it’s expected that lay people will automatically assume that because this information is coming from health care providers, that it is scientifically sound and trustworthy. To the authors’ credit, their website does have citations but the truth is even with these references, it’s hard, nye impossible for the untrained to translate complex studies into meaningful understanding so in a way their presence doesn’t matter.

People are left to trust those ‘in the know’, and that is where so many of us unwittingly invite destruction into our lives.

spot a typo? Let me know at aftershockrecovery at gmail dot com

my use of these screenshots are my opinion and not intended to infringe nay copyright or trademark expressed

References 

Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Hartelius_1952___Animals___Brain_damage__Definitive_.pdf

Abrams, R., & Swartz, C.Retrieved June 11, 2016, from http://www.dbsasandiego.org/resources/Somatics%20ECT%20brochure.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. (1979). Electro-shock its brain-disabling effects. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Breggin_1979___AAA___Complete_ECT_Book___Overview__244_pages__Brain_Damage__Memory_Loss__Abuse__Etc_.pdf

Cauchon, D. (n.d.). Doctor’s financial stake in shock therapy (December 6, 1995 08:30 PM). Retrieved June 11, 2016, from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/health/lhs194.htm

ECT Resources Center by Peter R. Breggin M.D. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/

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

Friedberg, J. (1976). Shock treatment is not good for your brain. San Francisco: Glide Publications.

Hartelius, H. (1952). cerebral changes following electrically induced convulsions. acta psychiactrica et neurologica scandinavica. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Hartelius_1952___Animals___Brain_damage__Definitive_.pdf

Janis, I. (1950). Psychological effects of electric shock treatment. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 3. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Janis_1950__Autobiographical_memory_loss_.pdf

Lawrence, J. (2007, February 20). ECT, The Thymatron and Dr. Richard Abrams – HealthyPlace. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/articles/ect-the-thymatron-and-dr-richard-abrams/

Robertson, H., & Pryor, R. (2006). Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients. Advances is psychiatric treatment, 12, 228-238. Retrieved from http://www.breggin.com/ECT/Electroshock-MemoryandCognitivEffects.pdf

Rose, D., Fleischmann, P., Wykes, T., & Bindman, J. (2002). Review of perspectives on electro convulsive therapy (final report). Retrieved from Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) Institute of Psychiatry website: http://www.ect.org/resources/consumerperspectives.pdf

Ross, C. A. (2006). The sham ECT literature: implications for consent to ECT. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 8, 17-28. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Ross_2006___Sham_ECT_Literatures.pdf

Swartz, C., & Abrams, R.Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.dbsasandiego.org/resources/Somatics%20ECT%20brochure.pdf

Thymatron. (n.d.). Somatics, LLC – Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from http://www.thymatron.com/main_faq.asp

Warneron, R. (n.d.). http://akmhcweb.org/ncarticles/RichardWarneronShockTreatment.pdf. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://akmhcweb.org/ncarticles/RichardWarneronShockTreatment.pdf

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When is Violent Act Considered Criminal?

if a doctor performs unmodified ECT when the new law enters into force he or she will be commiting crimial assult

TRIGGER WARNINGS! Articles discussing unmodified and modified ECT and an image of quoted observations of unmodified ECT

Torture or abandonment: unmodified ECT and the shocking position of Indian and global psychiatric leaders | Oliver talks.

Funny how electrocuting a fully conscious person into a grand mal seizure is only considered criminal assault after a law deems it so. Continue reading

A Free Innovative Course on Memory

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Understanding memory is crucial for shock survivors to know what happened to them, identify their weaknesses, advocate for themselves and develop coping strategies.

Unfortunately, this aspect of human cognition is infinitely complex and grasping how it works is even harder with brain damage.

I would know, I’ve been trying to understand it for the last decade. Countless books and even a semester of psych 1101 and I still have trouble keeping the different types of memory straight.

I’ve mentioned the wonders of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for alternative education opportunities for shock survivors in a previous post . I’ve been fairly active with the Coursera platform. I got an email last week of courses starting soon and a class on memory caught my attention:

Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies

This course requires no psychology background. The instructor uses a clever method for explaining the many facets of memory by using something we are all familiar with: movies.

I’ve taken the first week and so far so good. The content is well designed and easy to follow.

If you’re a shock survivor or the friend or loved one of a shock survivor, I encourage you to take this course.

It’s easy!

  1. Go to Coursera.org and make an account
  2. search Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies and click ‘enroll button’

There are several options for taking the course:

  • watch the videos and take the quizzes for a statement of accomplishment (free)
  • just watch the videos (free)
  • do all the things and pay $49 for certification

Because shock damage usually requires LOTS of repetition to learn and retain new information, I enter in the key points of whatever course I’m taking into Quizlet; a free flashcard study program/app that I can drill myself with until whatever I’m studying sticks.

Happy learning 🙂

Waiting on the FDA

My comments to the FDA posted on the shock machine reclassification docket on April 25th. I have been struggling with PTSD since writing it and have been too triggered to check it to ensure my content is all there.

Today I finally gave it a once over and my statement looks intact.
I wish I could say I’m relieved, but I’m not.

The whole reclassification situation coupled with my regular encounters with brain washed doctors and lay people has sparked painful memories and fear for my safety and the safety of others should this reclassification pass.

I’m so freaked out, I’ve even decided to get an advanced directive that declares “no electroshock under any circumstance” should I, God forbid, ever get tangled
up in psychiatry again. However, I take little solace in this protection because it can be easily overridden by the opinion of two doctors, but what else can I do?

I’m not alone in this worry; now the dockets have closed, survivors who have responded to FDA have had to relive their own electroshock traumas, submit their thoughts and experiences to an agency with questionable motives and anxiously wait for the FDA’s next move.

A survivor recently shared her interaction with the FDA ombudsman about her concern over the agencies silence since the dockets closed via her email newsletter.

The ombudsman’s reply:


The world waits as well, as this decision will no doubt impact every country.

If you’re new to this situation, please check out the links below to catch up:

review the history and the law

The FDA’s failure to perform recommended testing in 2011

Only 72 Hours Left to Say #FDAStopTheShockDevice

The letter to the FDA ombudsman

And if you haven’t signed the Mindfreedom petition protesting this outrageous reclassification attempt by the the FDA, please consider giving it your John Hancock and sharing.

Thank you 🙂

Electroconvulsant Shock Therapy (ECT): Is it Safe or Even Effective? | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

via Electroconvulsant Shock Therapy (ECT): Is it Safe or Even Effective? | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization.

Who Are Anti-Psychiatry Activists? People Harmed by Psychiatry

The APA is employing a popular tactic of playing the victim to “anti-psychiatry movement.”

That term carries unflattering stigma.

The anti-psychiatry movement is portrayed as anti-science, fringe quackery, and consisting of only Scientologists and busy bodies who are interfering with doctors ability to soundly treat suffering mental patients.

The truth?

The majority of the anti-psychiatry movement are people who themselves or their loved ones have been grievously harmed or killed by unscientific, dangerous treatments such as drugs and electroshock. People who don’t who aren’t treated as credible because of the diagnoses they have been given, often have limited resources for legal recourse- not that they would be taken seriously any ways.

These “anti-psychiatry” people have lost everything and bravely choose to speak out so others may be saved from this iatrogenic suffering and so the public and government can be made aware so justice can be served and protective changes made.

Psychiatry doesn’t look so noble when you put this tactic in its correct context. It’s is a well funded bully with the blind support of people taught that doctors are always good and trust worthy and their treatments scientifically sound.

Do they really care about their patients? All you need to know is look at how they treat those they harm who are be brave enough to speak out against them. 

I was irrevocably injured by psychiatry. I was uniformed of the risks. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to other people-they need to be warned of the dangers, especially since psychiatry is unwilling to do so.

I think those who knowingly cover up, ignore or deny harm caused by their treatments should be held accountable along with watchdog agencies like the FDA for choosing special interests over upholding their duty to protect people.

If what I say sounds reasonable- if you agree patients deserve to be informed and protected against dangerous psychiatric interventions, and organizations like the FDA should follow their governing rules  then please sign and this subversive, “anti-psychiatry” petition:

https://www.change.org/p/fda-stop-fda-from-down-classifying-the-shock-device-to-a-class-ii-device-stop-shock-treatment 

 

 

ECT Destroys Lives

When it comes to ECT, the only stories that matter to mainstream media are the “it saved my life!” ones. Those who have claim injury and/or abuse are ignored, discredited and disregarded in any ECT discussion.

“your imagining things, you are mentally ill, after all”

“your a rare case and don’t represent the majority”

“if doctors forced you to have it, you probably needed it”

This blind invalidation needs to stop.

It’s time these accounts are treated as valid.

It’s time people keep asking questions–even when someone throws down a Suzie Success Story.

All personal accounts matter- not just “happy” ones.

Asking honest questions must be allowed and encouraged.

What do doctors really know or not know about ECT?

Why do some people feel helped?

What research has been done and by whom? Is there a conflict of interest? How are these studies conducted? How do doctors define depression and improvement?

Why is only one state keeping track of ECT induced deaths? Shouldn’t all doctors want complete and accurate risk data so their patients can make a truly informed choice?

Why aren’t patients given full informed consent?

Why don’t doctors take patients who claim injury, seriously?

Why don’t they offer before and after testing?

Why haven’t shock machines been tested by the FDA, after the decades ECT has been used? Or when the FDA was recommended to do so in 2011?

If the animal studies conducted in the 50’s and 60’s were so inadequate, why were they never repeated?

Why does some in medical practice who speaks critically of ECT get black-balled?

What role has the media played in promoting ECT? Have they shown journalistic integrity in the process?

How legitimate are the diagnosis labels used to justify ECT?

Why is honest ECT questioning always shut down?

Why does my story count for so little, when it would surely be treated as credible and praised if it were positive?

I could go on and on.

People don’t ask these questions when the discussion is dominated by Suzie Success Stories. Who wants to be the a*&hole that questions a “treatment” that “saved someones life?”

Questions like these are often viewed as offensive.

But why? Shouldn’t we want to know the answers for ALL patients?

Shouldn’t the Suzie’s out there want to know the truth too? That maybe there’s more to their depression and it’s treatment than they were originally told? Maybe, like me, their “treatment resistant depression” is actually treatable?

References

(2007). Retrieved from http://www.breggin.com/ECT/2007Neurop…

Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…

Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Hartelius_1952___Animals___Brain_damage__Definitive_.pdf

Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury…

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. (2015, April 8). Simple Truth 10: Electroshock is Brain Trauma [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOtac…

Committee for the Truth is Psychiatry. (n.d.). Electroconvulsive Therapy Causes Permanent Amnesia And Cognitive Deficits, Prominent Researcher Admits « ect.org. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/?p=699

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

Friedberg, J. (1976). Shock treatment is not good for your brain. San Francisco: Glide Publications.

Further increase in the use of ECT without consent in England | ECT statistics. (2016, January 30). Retrieved March 12, 2016, from https://ectstatistics.wordpress.com/2…

Hickey, P. (2006, November 21). http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/e…. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/e…

Read, J. (2016, February 19). The Curious Case of over 50 Consecutive ECTs in Melbourne – Mad In America. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/02/t…

Ross, C. (2006). http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…

Woman died after NHS electric shock therapy was given without consent or second opinion – Mirror Online

via Woman died after NHS electric shock therapy was given without consent or second opinion – Mirror Online.

I read this and think, this could have happened to anyone of us when were were getting shocked.

It’s beyond disturbing to see how its viewed by the legal system and hospital. If I had died like this, it would just get brushed off as “extremely rare” circumstance so she, like other survivors who are injured or killed by shock don’t matter.

What we don’t hear is how the hospital “treated” her “mental illness,” everything they tried, because they’re doctors. And you sure as hell can’t hear Elsie’s side of the story, now that she’s dead.

At least Elsie Tindle’s death is getting media attention and someone is trying to do something about it via Electric shock therapy death: Sunderland coroner writes to Health Secretary in bid to prevent further fatalities – Sunderland Echo.

International Women’s Day

On this holiday, take a minute to remember women who have suffered abuse, health problems, other stresses and traumas incorrectly labeled “mentally ill” by doctors they trusted. 

Instead of apropriate care and understanding, they drugged and electroshocked.  

Women, primarily elderly women are the main shock recipients. This is beyond messed up. If the FDA’s change goes through, the number of shocked women will only increase. 

Please sign the petition and respond to the FDA dockets regarding these changes.

 

The Latest on Australian Man Forced to Have 50+ ECT Treatments

I shared a link a while back about Garth Daniels, an Australian man subjected to over 50 shock treatments against his will. you can find that here.

MIA contributor John Reed has written a two-part series on this atrocity, that covers the details of this situation, upcoming protests and a petition to stop the human rights abuses of Garth Daniels.

TRIGGER WARNING!

The news story linked in these articles shows disturbing imaged of electroshock

The Curious Case of over 50 Consecutive ECTs in Melbourne

Foxes Guarding the Henhouse: the Role of the Chief Psychiatrist

The Mental Health Tribunal

Appealing to our Elected Representatives

Sign the petition for Garth