Was Carrie Fisher’s Death ECT Related?

2016 sucked royally. The year started off with the FDA trying to down-classify shock machines to class II when they thought no one was looking.

Then the horrible presidential election ending with Donald Trump as the victor.

The human rights abomination known as the Murphy bill was enthusiastically passed.

Beloved celebrities like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Prince have passed away,   followed by the Star Wars icon, Carrie Fisher, who died this week after suffering a heart attack.

I have mixed feelings about The world famous actress. I’m not a Star Wars fan so I don’t have a rabid fanaticism for her or other cast members.

As a shock survivor, I empathize with her desperation to control her depression that led to drugs and then ECT.

‘I was getting medication that medication could not handle. It feels like my brain gets moored down in cement and it kind of blows that apart. You can move on from whatever feelings you cannot resolve through therapy and medications.’

-Carrie Fisher, Oprah interview via Daily Mail.com

I can relate to her promotion of it because I felt strongly about it too. That is before I fully understood ECT and its horrific effects outside of my adolescent, psychiatric brainwashing.

I sounded very much like she did when she spoke to Oprah about it. How it was different now. Safer. Helpful.

In interviews, her cognitive impairments are quite obvious though she doesn’t seem to be aware of them which is heartbreaking.

She was duped like the rest of us.

At the same time, I have been exasperated by her ECT promotion. Her massive fame put her in a highly influential position. For those of us trying to educate people the true nature of electroshock and advocate for recognition, protection, and rehabilitation for those injured and cast aside by their doctors and society, she caused problems, though unintentionally. Ultimately, she was a victim and an unwitting pawn in a larger game.

Despite the damage her shock promotion caused, I never wished her any harm.

Her sudden death scares me, which brings me to an issue that has less to do with Carrie and more to do with the risks of ECT.

Risks and death rates are drastically downplayed in consent forms and the media. What most people don’t know is that there has been great efforts to prevent or hinder data collection on ECT-related deaths.

“Furthermore, the APA consent form drastically underestimates mortality associated with ECT by stating a risk of 1 in 10,000, whereas the average of numerous studies indicated a tenfold higher rate of death than suggested by the APA.”

Dr. Daniel Fisher presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Neurological Devices Panel examining the reclassification of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) devices on January 27, 2011.

Texas was one state who requires deaths to be reported after up to 12 days following ECT. What do results look like with this lengthier follow-up?

More ECT-related deaths. Much more dramatic numbers than the excessively conservative 1- 10,000 in consent forms!

Depending on the age group, it can be as few as  1-200!

This is just a sample of a near two-week time frame. Who knows how many other deaths could be attributed months or years later?

Heart attacks are one of the many ECT-related death causes.

I recently learned that acquaintance’s dad was subjected to ECT and died in his 50’s from a heart attack that was attributed to the shock treatments he had years before.

I want to briefly focus on Carrie Fisher’s Oprah interview where she talked about how ECT is different from old electroshock because they put you under anesthesia.

“They put you to sleep and give you a medication so there is no convulsions …”

~Carrie Fisher, Oprah Inteview

Rather than get into a lengthy explanation about the problems with that common statement of how modified ECT is better, (it’s not, read Dr. Peter Sterling’s entire article linked below) I just want to point out one important fact that I never new before agreeing to ECT and I wonder if Carrie did either: the anesthesia and muscle relaxants offer zero protection for the massive blood pressure increase caused by electrocuting a person into a grand mal seizure. I recently read an in-depth piece about the effect of ECT by Doctor Peter Sterling, via ect.org. I encourage anyone to read the whole article, but below are the quotes relevant to the blood pressure issue:

“Accompanying the convulsion, there is a tremendous rise in blood pressure: changes in arterial pressure from 80mm Hg to 220mm Hg, or almost 200%, have been recorded (Plum, et al, 1968). This overall response resembles the “grand mal” seizure that occurs in epilepsy…

Thus, the later modifications of ECT can relieve the threat of cerebral anoxia, but not the threat of high pressure, bleeding, loss of blood-brain barrier, or edema

… In accomplishing such massive increases in blood flow, the automatic mechanisms that normally regulate cerebral blood flow are overwhelmed. For the duration of the seizure and for sometime following it, blood flow to the brain becomes like that of must other tissues in the body — proportional to the arterial pressure forcing the blood through the vessels. These changes accompanying ECT are not modified by the administration of anesthetic, paralytic drugs or oxygen (Plum, et al., 1968; Posner, et al., 1969).

~Dr. Peter Sterling, Ph.D., Testimony Prepared for the Standing Committee on Mental Health of the Assembly of the State of New York, October 5, 1978.

Looking at the physiologic effects of electroshock I have to wonder, was Carrie Fisher’s heart attack in part from her many medically induced seizures? What role did all the pharmaceuticals she took play in her death?

Even though I stopped ECT and drugs ten years ago, am I destined for the same fate in 30 years?

All I can think right now is #fuck2016 !

References

BBC. (2016, December 27). Carrie Fisher, Star Wars actress, dies aged 60 – BBC News. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38446753?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook

Boodman, S. J. (1996, September 24). SHOCK THERAPY: IT’S BACK – The Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1996/09/24/shock-therapy-its-back/35a22683-a87d-4946-81a6-cabf1bb5a37b/?utm_term=.ed4a03e04218

Fisher, D. (2011, January 27). Dr. Daniel Fisher on ECT | Psych Central. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/dr-daniel-fisher-on-ect/

Frank, L. R.Retrieved from http://endofshock.com/101i%20brochure%20on%20deaths%203-29.pdf

Sterling, P. (1978, October 5). Brain Damage and Memory Loss From ECT. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/testimony.html

Thompson, J. (2011, February). Carrie Fisher confesses to Oprah that she has regular electric shock therapy to help her battle depression | Daily Mail Online. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1357601/Carrie-Fisher-confesses-Oprah-regular-electric-shock-therapy-help-battle-depression.html

Tracy, A. B. (2016, December 12). UPDATE: CARRIE FISHER DEAD AT 60 – ANTIDEPRESSANTS PLUS ???: Carrie Fisher Suffers Massive Heart Attack on Airplane – INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR DRUG AWARENESS. Retrieved December 28, 2016, from http://www.drugawareness.org/antidepressants-plus-carrie-fisher-suffers-massive-heart-attack-on-airplane/

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The FDA Hides Drug Related Deaths and Homicides

From the FDA’s website:

“FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health. FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors”

View the FDA’s full mission statement here.

Last January the FDA made an appalling stealth move to reclassify the ECT shock machine from high-risk class III, to class II; the same risk level as a pair of reading glasses. All without testing the devices, and providing nothing for patient safety besides suggested guidelines and device labels.

I encourage people who haven’t been impacted by electroshock to view the reclassification attempt, not as an isolated event, but behavior that reflects the true motives of the supposed watchdog agency.

If the FDA is making decisions like this in one medical arena, it’s likely they are shirking their protective responsibilities to American citizens in others.

A recent example of this comes from research by has plumbed the depths of the FDA’s Medwatch or Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) using an ingenious algorithm he designed to translate the cryptic data into discernible information.

In May 2016 he shared his findings in a Mad in America article and also an interview with Dr. Peter Breggin in June.

MIA article 

Peter Breggin interview

His findings are stunning.

white text on black quote: cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, hepatoxicity, multi-organ failure, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, completed suicide, homicide . . . Wait, what? Homicide, as a drug side effect? Then I saw it again: Murder. Andrew Thibualt

white text on black Apparently, we can't have a story made public about a 10-year-old girl on Vyvanse who forced the ADHD drug down a baby girl's throat before suffocating her to death. That would be bad for business. Especially even as Vyvanse chewable tablets are being approved for the market. Andrew Thibault

The FDA impacts everyone in the US and beyond

You may not be a shock or drug survivor, and our fight may have no impact on your life, but at the very least, you should be aware of the appalling actions by this powerful government organization that is funded by your tax dollars.

Tax dollars that also pay for drug prescriptions and procedures they approve and pay for via government health insurance.

At some point in your life, you and those you love will need medical care via drugs or methods that have been FDA approved. Medical care that in some cases may be used without your consent. You will depend on the FDA to provide appropriate pre-market approval testing and accurate risk information.

FDA decisions don’t just impact Americans; as the United States is a leader in medicine, what this organization decides will affect people around the globe.

What this agency does matters to everyone.

Final thoughts

This glimpse of the FDA through the lens of electroshock and drugs shows a truly disturbing picture.

Old drugs being reformulated and repackaged, often minus risk warnings from their last medication formula, death by side effects, murder, and suicide, hidden from the public, and massive conflicts of interest.

I’m sure Andrew has only scratched the surface.

The FDA is not looking out for Americans.

Only awareness and mass social outrage will bring about meaningful change to this regulatory crisis.

Where to start

Please sign the #FdaStoptheShockDevice petition.

Learn more from Andrew Thibault by checking out his other websites, pharmabuse.com and murdermeds.com.

Tune into Peter Breggin’s podcast to keep up on the latest from psychiatric reform movment.

Review the history of the FDA and the shock device here.

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

A Black Box Warning for the DSM? Yes, Please!

The controversial drug Risperdal has a horrific grab bag of side effects.

So how did it become so widely prescribed, for so many conditions to everyone from the elderly to emotional or unruly children?

Psychologist and whistle blower Paula J. Caplan chats with Peter Breggin about DSM 4 author Allen Francis’s ties the the pharmaceutical industry- work that led to the promotion of and broader use of Risperdal. Paula and Peter also touch on her time serving on DSM committee, female Viagra, Robin Williams, and why she believes the DSM needs a black box warning

 

Listen to this enlightening discussion here.

Here is Paula’s documentation of DSM drug company scandal: 

Diagnosisgate: Conflict of Interest at the Top of the Psychiatric Apparatus

And some additional pieces on Risperdal sitch:

Allen Frances’ Ties to Johnson & Johnson

Too Corrupt, Too Insane, and Too Ridiculous to Be Reformed? Even Establishment Psychiatrists Now Distancing Themselves from Their Own Profession

The lying liars who lie about psychiatry

Paula has a petition regarding these issues she encourages listeners to sign Boycott the DSM

This petition was at 492 when I signed. Lets help it get the 4,508 it needs- sign and share!

I personally recommend her book, They Say You’re Crazy.

This is a must read for anyone ever given a psychiatric diagnosis, and also anyone living in a country where the word of “diagnostic bible” is held as sacred, scientific fact. In this book Paula reveals the unscientific nature of creating diagnosis, and how these arbitrary labels destroy lives. All you psych survivors too well how this plays out: mental and physical health destroyed by drugs. The “mental illness” label being used against you.

“This mother is deemed unfit due to her mental illness. Full custody is awarded to the father.”

Or forcible restriction of independence and self-direction:

“You’re not sane enough to decide what’s best for you. I order you to talk to this shrink. Take these pills. Have some electroshock-er, brain stimulation.”

It’s simultaneously stunning and horrifying to see how labels psychiatric survivors’ lives are tainted by, came to be. Reading this book has been sooooo helpful to my recovery process by helping me understand why and how I got labeled, and gave me alternative ways to view my distress and therefore, myself outside of this joke of a medical model.

Another excellent book on the subject of diagnosis is called Cracked: The Unhappy Truth About Psychiatry.


It’s an awesome, important critique on the DSM.

For further reading here’s Paula’s additional list of works.

Paula has a petition regarding these issues she encourages listeners to sign Boycott the DSM

This petition was at 492 when I signed. Lets help it get the 4,508 it needs- sign and share!

Wanna know more about Paula? Check out her lovely bio here.

Her website for veterans listen2veterans.org

Contact her here

Here’s the link to an additional interview she did with Peter Breggin on October 21st, 2015. In it they discuss the controversial topic of schizophrenia, other ways to view and treat emotional distress and how to support veterans returning from war. She mentions a new book she’s writing another book about the abusive therapies. I can’t wait to see how she tackles this issue that’s devastated my life and the lives of so many others mired in the mental health system.

References

Boxed warning – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxed_warning

Breggin, P. R. (2015, October 21). the Dr. Peter Breggin hour [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://prn.fm/the-dr-peter-breggin-hour-10-21-15/

Breggin, P. R. (2015, September 2). the Dr. Peter Beggin hour [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://prn.fm/the-dr-peter-breggin-hour-09-02-15/

Caplan, P. J. (1995). They say you’re crazy: How the world’s most powerful psychiatrists decide who’s normal. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.

Caplan, P. J. (2015). Diagnosisgate: conflict of interest at the top of the psychiatric apparatus. Retrieved from http://www.oa.uottawa.ca/journals/aporia/articles/2015_01/commentary.pdf

Caplan, P. J. (n.d.). Home – Paula Joan Caplan. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.paulajcaplan.net/index.htm

Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: The unhappy truth about psychiatry.

Hickey, P. (2015, June 19). Allen Frances’ Ties to Johnson and Johnson. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2015/06/19/allen-frances-ties-to-johnson-and-johnson/

Rappaport, J. (2013, May 7). The lying liars who lie about psychiatry « Jon Rappoport’s Blog. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/the-lying-liars-who-lie-about-psychiatry/

The Welcome Johnny and Jane Home Project. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://whenjohnnyandjanecomemarching.weebly.com/the-welcome-johnny-and-jane-home-project.html