ECT Survivor Project: Things I never consented to…

The world needs to know how people are lied to about ECT risks, are subsequently injured and left to fend for themselves!

I’m working on a survivor collaboration video about the side effects we never consented to when we had ECT. This video explains what’s involved if you would like to participate. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions  

https://goo.gl/forms/2BJfXQRpOfwhrPaJ2

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Cardiologist Sues His Psychiatrist for Millions After Receiving Brain Damaging Electroshock

Bob Kerrey (1).jpg

I’m impressed to see an ECT lawsuit make it to trial and receive so much media attention.

I think a major factor is Shaul Dadi has elevated social status as a doctor who only recently suffered severe emotional distress. It’s much harder to paint someone of his stature as a delusional, unstable nutjob who tries to blame his mental health issues on ‘imaginary brain damage’ — the standard method for discrediting shock survivors. Few of us have such an advantage.

That said, I’m grateful that some survivors have a shot at justice. Shaul Dadi’s losses are devastating. His wife’s losses are devastating. For their sake and the sake of countless shock survivors who will never have their day in court,  I hope the Dadi’s win this lawsuit.

Read the full article here.

News Coverage of Recent Failed ECT Lawsuit

TRIGGER WARNINGS: footage of pre-ECT prep, ECT facilities, and shock machines.

I came across more coverage of this recent ECT lawsuit. If you are unfamiliar, you can read up on it below:

 Cardiologist Sues His Psychiatrist for Millions After Receiving Brain Damaging Electroshock

Cardiologist Brain Damaged by ECT Denied Justice

The shock doctor’s claim that ECT is safe because they use anesthesia, oxygenation, and monitoring, is absurd.

Anesthesia may prevent broken bones and bitten off tongues, and look more humane, but ultimately, it makes ECT more dangerous.

First, it has its own set of risks. Anesthesia also adds to the hazards of ECT because it lowers the seizure threshold so more electricity is needed to induce a grand mal seizure.

Oxygenation is used because patients are given muscle paralyzers that impair a patient’s ability to breathe independently. It’s also used to fuel the seizures.

The whole reason the patient is there in the first place is to have 200-450 volts of electricity pulsed through his/her brain to cause a grand mal seizure; a violent medical event the doctors normally try to prevent. Monitoring doesn’t change that and in many cases doesn’t prevent injury or death,  permanent cognitive impairment, and memory loss.

This scenario looks quite different with reasons behind these “safety measures,” no?

As for this psychiatrist not seeing a single patient with post- ECT brain damage? You see what you look for and shock doctors don’t look. In this instance, this doctor has a patient reporting massive brain damage but that has no impact on his beliefs and perception about what he does and the effect his ‘treatment’ has on the brain.

No “Wow! The problems you’re are expressing sound like a traumatic brain injury. We did run enough electricity through your brain to power a light bulb. Let’s do some neuro testing to evaluate you and see what we can do to help rehabilitate you.”

He didn’t even consider it because he’s never “seen” brain damage from his handy work before.

And that is the stance most if not all shock doctors take when a patient reports damage. No offer for cognitive testing. No acknowledgment. No rehab. Blame the person’s mental illness and/or character and leave them to fend for themselves in a world where no one will believe their claims because doctors say: ECT doesn’t damage the brain.

Because he is a doctor, he has the implicit trust of society, he wasn’t questioned on his statement and the news station that made this blurb didn’t present any contrary information to the doctor or in their reporting. “It’s safe because we do XYZ”is all he has to say to be believed.

This miscarriage of justice was no doubt a terrible blow to the Dadi’s–it was certainly devastating for the shock survivor community. I hope this isn’t the last we hear about it.

Fingers crossed appeal efforts are heard.

 

Spot a typo? Tell me about at aftershockrecovery (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks 🙂

Sources by topic

Long standing ECT brain damage evidence:

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

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

Sakeim, H. (2007). The cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy in community settings. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Sackeim_et_al__2007___AAA___Long-term_memory_and_cognitive_dysfunction_____Bilateral_worse_.pdf

ECT and the use of oxygen:

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

Psychiatry not looking for ECT-induced brain damage:

Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

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

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/

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

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

Dangers of anesthesia

Storrs, C. (2014, April 1). The Hidden Dangers of Going Under – Scientific American. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hidden-dangers-of-going-under/

Seizure Threshold increased from anesthesia

Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

 

(Revised Version) Brain Damage Therapy

If you saw the original incarnation of this video, you know all about the style and timing issues. I got help from the app designers and was able to fix all the little pesky quirks and also add a TON of polish to this video.

In two days this video got 84 views and several comments! This activity makes me hesitant to take it down.

While I figure out what to do with the old version, you can help me get the truth out about electroshock by viewing, liking and sharing the new one.

If you already have, thank you! I hope you will consider doing the same for the revised version as well.

Thank you!

 


Video References

References
Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved July 22, 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. (1979). Electro-shock its brain-disabling effects. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…

Breggin, P. R. (2010). The FDA should test the safety of ECT machines (International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 22 (2010) 89–92). Retrieved from http://breggin.com/wp-content/uploads…

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

Breggin, P. R. (n.d.). Electroshock: scientific, ethical, and political issues. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.stopshrinks.org/reading_ro…

Corry, M. (2008, June 25). Barbaric age of electric shock ‘cure’ must vanish. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/bar…

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.

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

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

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

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

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

 

All About Brain Damage Therapy

TRIGGER WARNINGS: GENERAL DISCUSSION ABOUT ECT PROCEDURE, SIDE EFFECTS ETC. I’ve chosen pretty benign imagery so not too much to worry about there.

Here is my latest video where I do a parody ECT promo calling it what it is: brain damage therapy.

Enjoy!

 

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

FDA: Electroshock has risks but is useful to combat severe depression – The Washington Post

In December 2015, Dan Hurley wrote a glowing piece about psychiatrist and ECT proponent, Sarah Lisanby and the “new ECT,” in the Atlantic. Well, he’s at it again in his new piece for the Washington Post FDA: Electroshock has risks but is useful to combat severe depression

Survivors and allies have already begun injecting some balance into this article via the comments. Feel free to join the discussion on both articles 🙂

 

Mental Survival

A while back I shared the story of a delightful man, Oliver Swingler. (If you missed it you can read his story here and one of his poems here.)

I have some exciting news! Oliver has recently had a collection of his powerful writing published!

From Amazon:

oliver book cover_
Mental Survival

Description

Mental Survival is a collection of articles, personal experiences, poems and songs, mostly centred around the theme of mental health. The writer draws on a wealth of experience to focus on psychiatry and counselling, the side effect of drugs and ECT, stigma and abuse, shedding light on much that is wrong with attitudes and care for the increasing numbers of people suffering debilitating mental distress. He also shows that despite an often daily battle against suicidal thoughts and chronic mood swings, it is possible to have a rewarding life, with moments of caring companionship, mostly winning the struggle to maintain a positive attitude and self-respect.

About the Author

Oliver Swingler was born 10th March 1948, and is currently actively retired despite physical disability and being a mental health survivor for 55 years. His working career has included 37 f different jobs, from factory labourer to Customer Services Supervisor, Sales Manager to Hospital Porter, Shop Assistant to Volunteer Co-ordinator, barman to Adult Education Lecturer – and over the years he’s done a variety of voluntary work, including VSO on island of St Helena, working with people recovering from head injuries, housing advisor with a Shelter Housing Aid Centre. Apart from 19 years semi-retreat from the world in the Emin esoteric cult, Oliver has been an active campaigner on a variety of issues, a student Socialist Society Chair, NUPE Shop Steward, Chair of Lifeboat mental health co-operative, and two Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations. As well as writing songs for a left/green choir, he’s most recently been active against fracking and global warming, as part of White Ribbon Campaign anti-violence against women, seeking justice for families of victims of the DWP, Atos, Maximus, Capita, and most recently re-joined the Labour Party after 50 years absence to support Jeremy Corbyn. A believer in social housing, Oliver has lived in a council flat in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for 26 years; he’s divorced and has one son.

Seeing his long list of accomplishments is such an encouragement– one can truly live a meaningful, successful life following iatrogenic brain damage, trauma and deep, painful, personal struggles.

Thank you for persevering Oliver, and showing the world what is possible, regardelss the circumstances 🙂

You can buy his wonderful work here

All royalties go to Newcastle Launchpad service user survivor/group.

 

 

Read Peter Breggin’s First Medical ECT Book for Free

I’ve started collecting old electroshock books before they disappear and/or their prices skyrocket. Last year  I bought a copy  Electro-shock and its Brain-Disabling Effects, originally published in 1979.

This book is a vital read. It shows how far back shock induced brain damaged evidence was available, how this information was softened, skewed or ignored by the industry, provides patient accounts, detailed descriptions of physical and cognitive effects and its wealth of citations serves an additional research resource.


Recently I was poking around Peter Breggin’s ECT Resource Center and found that he made the complete book available free via PDF–yay!

Even though I already own the book, it’s hard for me to process because it’s highly technical and  I struggle with reading and retaining new info after ECT wrecked my brain.

But with a PDF copy, I can run it through my screen reader and can easily highlight and review points I want to remember.

You can download the PDF here.

And if have the same reading/retaining troubles I do and are interested in using assistive technology, check out VoiceDream.

It’s the best screen reader I’ve ever used. It’s easy to add content, there’s a ton of realistic voices to choose from, and the app is customizable.