Cri de Coeur

This is the first of 3 posts laying out the philosophical basis for which will be live in the next few weeks.The others are Once is Never & the Unbearable lightness of being.

“[I suggest] a meeting with yourself and your reviewers. I have spoken in public on these issues and offered to speak on any platform. I’ve visited the MHRA [British equivalent of FDA]. Part of my motivation has stemmed from a willingness, indeed almost a desire to be proven wrong, as the consequences of not being proven wrong are in many respects horrific. If you have a reviewer who can point out the error of my ways I will take any steps that might be called for in the light of any conversion”.

This cri de couer (cry from the heart) is from a letter I sent to Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet, in 2000, when his journal was reviewing an article I had submitted (see The Lancet didn’t hear my desperation or if they did didn’t take up my offer. I had been to and went again to the MHRA who listened to what I had to say, but never offered any evidence to make me change my view that SSRIs can cause suicide.

The point at the heart of the Lancet article that led to my offer to visit and be persuaded of the error of my ways remains unanswered to this day. It was not about whether antidepressants can cause suicide but about how we assess adverse events. Suicide on antidepressants provides the perfect natural experiment to bring out the problem.

In 1990 Martin Teicher, Carol Glod and Jonathan Cole triggered concerns about a suicide risk on Prozac. They outlined 6 cases in which patients became suicidal after treatment started, the problem cleared when treatment stopped and re-emerged when treatment was restarted. In a series of subsequent reports other groups found the emergence of suicidality could be blocked by an antidote.

These reports met all the standard judicial, clinical and scientific criteria for determining cause and effect (see Let Them Eat Prozac). Prozac caused suicide.

But Lilly’s response in 1990/1991 was that their clinical trial data showed no risk, and that reports of patients becoming suicidal were just anecdotes. Lilly took their trial data to FDA and published it in an article in the BMJ. In an Evidence Based Medicine era where randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are described as offering gold standard evidence and clinical experience is dismissed as anecdotal this argument worked extraordinarily well. No-one was prepared to say RCTs were simply not the way to answer this problem.

But RCTs are not the way to answer a problem like antidepressant induced suicidality. The repetition that RCTs are a gold standard for everything and good case reports are anecdotes is deliberate propaganda. It’s the effect of repetition that causes us to agree with something that in fact stands common sense on its head.

Evidence based medicine and RCTs are supposed to help us control the pharmaceutical industry. One might have expected some of the advocates of RCTs and EBM to step up to the plate and say that Lilly were misusing the clinical trial data – these trials were not designed to test whether SSRIs caused suicide.

No-one stepped up to the plate then. Will they flinch now?

We live in a world where EBM and RCTs have been effectively deployed as a means to silence people injured by treatment. Too many adherents of EBM acknowledge and bemoan this but say it is down to pharmaceutical company “fraud” – lack of publication, miscoding of data, lack of access to the data etc. If the fraud were eliminated RCTs would deliver the goods.

While such trickery undoubtedly plays a part, when it comes to adverse events, RCTs are simply not the answer to determining cause and effect.

In the case of SSRIs and suicide, we can now see that the anecdotes so called were from the start completely consistent with the trial data which in the case of Prozac showed a clear doubling (2.0) in the relative risk of suicidal acts on Prozac compared to placebo. The only company defence as of the 1990s was that the published data was not statistically significant (see Psychotic doubt).

Some 14 years later when a sufficiently large cohort of trials were assembled the relative risk of a suicidal act on SSRI antidepressants became statistically significant. At this point, FDA stated that this statistically significant doubling of the relative risk (2.0) of a suicidal act demonstrated a causal effect (where a close to statistically significant doubling of risk had not).

The idea that adding a few more patients to the mix should transform our views from this drug doesn’t cause suicidal acts to this drug causes suicidal acts should strike anyone who thinks about it as plain bizarre.

But here is Russell Katz, the Director of the Central Nervous System division of FDA saying essentially this when discussing the doubling of the relative risk of a suicidal act on anticonvulsants compared to placebo:

We are unequivocally comfortable with using the word, the “c” word, with saying that this establishes causality. Again, we have talked about this a fair amount. This is how we determine causality, this is how we base our findings of effectiveness for drugs.

We do randomized trials, we analyze them prospectively, we have an outcome measure, and if it’s statistically significantly different from placebo, we say the drug caused it, you know, once you rule out chance and fraud and bias and that sort of thing, which we think we have done here

There is a far deeper problem here than challenging FDA claims that they have ruled out chance, fraud and bias in these company trials in which it’s openly known some patients didn’t exist.

To see the bigger problem we have to step back in time to a meeting in Cambridge, England in 1959. This was one of the earliest meetings at which psychiatrists had a chance to talk about their clinical experience with the first tricyclic antidepressant, imipramine. Imipramine had been introduced in 1958. Several of those there stated on the basis of their clinical observations that imipramine could cause suicide.

ECT had previously also been linked to suicide. ECT it was said and is still said could mobilize stuperose and suicidal patients so that they were able to carry out their plans before those plans began to fade. The doctors in Cambridge were aware of this “rollback” theory about ECT indirectly leading to suicides. But they said something else was happening on imipramine. It could directly cause suicide by increasing agitation. No one disagreed.

Unlike the later SSRIs, the tricyclic antidepressants could also bring about dramatic improvements in severe depression (melancholia). When the SSRIs were first produced in the 1970s, they very nearly didn’t become antidepressants because they were of no use in severe depression. Several companies almost binned their SSRIs after a series of studies showed them to be less effective than older non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like imipramine, clomipramine and amitriptyline.

The tricyclic antidepressants are therefore effective in a patient group at a substantially higher risk of suicide than the patients entered into SSRI trials. Because SSRIs were ineffective in severe depression, the SSRI studies were conducted in mild to moderately depressed patients where there was so little risk of suicide from the illness that the risks from the drugs stood out.

So let’s mount a thought experiment. To pull a rabbit out of a hat, the first thing you have to do is put the rabbit in the hat. If we were to undertake a large placebo controlled trial of imipramine in severe depression we would expect the rate of suicidal acts on imipramine to be lower than the rate of suicidal acts on placebo because imipramine reduces the suicide risk from the illness more than any risk that stems from the drug. The relative risk of a suicidal act on imipramine in such trials would be less than 1.0, perhaps as low as 0.5.

Where would this leave FDA? Given the corner they have painted themselves into with the SSRIs, they could not agree imipramine causes suicide on the basis of trial data like this.

They cannot concede that imipramine causes suicide on the basis of the challenge-dechallenge–rechallenge reports from the 1950s or 1960s even though these criteria are still embodied in standard adverse event causality metrics – because they didn’t concede that SSRIs cause suicide on the basis of even better reports.

But FDA has in fact labelled imipramine and other tricyclic antidepressants as causing suicide. They did so for political reasons. In 2004, they put a class-wide labelling for suicide risk on all antidepressants so that the makers of the latest drugs would not be disadvantaged. They had in fact offered to put a class-wide warning on all antidepressants as early as 1990.

It must be clear from this that we are about to descend into a morass. This sequence of events poses far more problems than might be immediately apparent [to be continued].

Readers can also view my blog posts (see Cri de Coeur) and find further information at or visit my Facebook page.


  1. I was about ten years into drug-free recovery when Prozac hit the market, so I never tasted the stuff myself. I remember one of the first shocking suicides for people of my generation was singer/song-writer Del Shannon (Runnaway, Hats Off to Larry and many more) who had been prescribed the drug by his GP and had only taken it for a few days. His courageous wife was one of the first people to start to spread the alarm, but not many listened to her, they preferred “Listening to Prozac”.

    Report comment

  2. warning label,

    I read the link and frankly I found it to be lacking in good faith in the presentation of post ECT clients (thand presenting Dr Healy as a tortuous mind taking every profesional risk in order to advance knowledge about risks involved in antidepressant prescribing

    Report comment

      • Sonia,

        Thanks for asking for explanation. I was not defending ECT per se, just attacking a demagogue selling himself using ludicrous and manipulative arguments with two “conspiratory theory “ cherries on the cake of that self-promotional paper.

        1)ECT might be something to prohibit –or not – but I found bad faith indeed and a lot of demagogy in the writing assuming that the aim of the ECT administration was the post-seizure, post anesthesia moment. I am not making that up and I cite:
        “After being held down and driven into a seizure by a jolt of electricity, they always came out the same — confused, disoriented, and helpless, like victims of head injury, and always they became docile and manageable.

        The most “difficult patient” was always easily led away to languish on the ward. Concussive-like head injury, especially involving electrical trauma to our frontal lobes, makes us all alike in our vulnerability. ”

        I found it manipulative and poor neurology:

        a) to assimilate a seizure and a concussive head injury-although of course concussion can produce a seizure.
        b) and to assume that the scope of the ECT administration was that transient post-seizure moment. Frankly if the scope were only to get a very quiet client , drugs injections would produce that with less trouble involved for the staff and for a longer period of time!
        c) to describe the feeling of the young layman he once was in a psychiatric ward –so he told us- is one thing but to pretend that a professional do not know better is manipulative. There is much more to complain about ECT than the post seizure state!
        About the “conspiratory theory ” like arguments:
        1) It is just ludicrous to reduce Pr Healy good and courageous work against Big Pharma and against some psychiatrists and psychophartmacologists professed opinions to a sordid, under cover way to promote ECT!

        2) And after that very mean and demagogic accusation came a blatant lie of astronomic proportion also put in a manipulative way :
        “There is a secret psychiatric code: You do your thing, and I’ll do mine, and we’ll never criticize each other. And so at the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association, the lobotomists would have their own sessions together, the shock doctors theirs, the drug docs theirs, the psychoanalysts theirs, the family therapists theirs, and so on… ”
        a) “There is a secret psychiatric code: You do your thing, and I’ll do mine, and we’ll never criticize each other” says Dr B in a conspiratory theory mode but it is just the opposite of the reality.
        In the real world: most professionals (academics and simple clinicians) and activist people-just like in that blog- will feel that colleagues and clients and the world at large need to know that their trade is better, more efficient and more humane – be it peer support, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, mind fullness, prescribing pills etc…
        (NB: I am not writing that there are no exceptions and that very open minded people do not exist. They do but they tend not to get their voice heard in the academic and activist fields.)
        Just to take an example I find witty, Pr Mottron from Montreal says publicly that the autistic persons have get rid from the tsars of psychoanalysis to get under the rule of the Stalinists of ABA.
        To take another example, the DSM or classification advocates will say that the psychoanalysts do not want a classification because for them the treatment is always the same and “talk to me for big money ” is one size fit all and they do not bother to evaluate their results, just claiming wonderful anecdotes of tremendous success without side-effects etc…Even inside one “doctrine” people fight for trade and influence- as Dr Frances Allen put it very rightly about the DSM makers in the fantastic video available on that blog these days.
        2)Then Dr B wrote a very manipulative sentence to add weight to his manipulative theory: “at the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association, the lobotomists would have their own sessions together, the shock doctors theirs, the drug docs theirs, the psychoanalysts theirs, the family therapists theirs, and so on… ” This is manipulative because of course the sessions in a meeting will have a theme but the people attending a meeting will wander around and come and left sessions in order to listen to people they heard about reading Journals, because a session’s title kept their fancy etc…
        Last but not least, I tell you something I myself suffered at my little level: it takes much more courage to be a psychopharmacologist and shout about Big Pharma dishonesty and other psychopharmcologists shortcoming than to shout loud about the competitors of your trade.

        Dr Healy deserves respect for his courage to confront himself to formidable powerful academics in his field like Prs Charles Nemeroff and Dave Nutt!: he lost an academic position in North America at the last moment in the past and Pr Dave Nutt is attacking him now .

        Sorry about my broken English.

        Report comment

        • I believe this is the crux of Dr. B’s fallacious argument, which verges on character assassination:

          “It is just ludicrous to reduce Pr Healy good and courageous work against Big Pharma and against some psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists professed opinions to a sordid, under cover way to promote ECT!”

          Report comment

          • I find these attacks on Dr. Breggin very offensive since most if not all including me were not aware of Dr. Healy’s ECT advocacy putting many people at potential risk. Dr. Breggin never said that Dr. Healy was criticizing drugs underhandedly to promote ECT. In fact, Dr. Breggin says he hopes Dr. Healy continues this good work in drugs. Dr. Breggin referred to his confusion about Dr. Healy criticizing psychiatric drugs AND the reform movement, which seemed inconsistent until he learned Dr. Healy promotes ECT. Like many others including Dr. Breggin, I wrongly assumed that Dr. Healy is a reform psychiatrist due to his work on drugs when he is really a main stream psychiatrist for the most part.

            Dr. Breggin expressed his views that it was difficult to see one practicing brain damaging ECT as part of the reform movement as is true for those promoting brain damaging drugs or other forms of lobotomy.

            It’s sad to see people deliberately twisting Dr. Breggin’s words and motives to suit their personal agendas.

            Report comment

          • Character assassination?

            I would say suicide and I am not to be intimidated even by the famous alto.

            As a psychotherapist I am a cognitivist mostly but i was also taught in other schools and in behavioral therapy I learned to teach clients that to assert oneself one has to assess first the consequences of an assertive attitude.

            That an old American hero would make a try at fooling people in a manipulative way is something I loath and I tell you what no Old American psychiatrist will be a hero to my mind unless he protested when the APA went defending political use of psychiatry in URSS telling that those who did not conform to the USSR norm were suffering from mental illness…

            Report comment

  3. Pr Healy,

    “Cri du coeur” is the correct idiomatic expression.

    I am sorry I was in a hurry and my first comment might not have been clear enough: I meant to tell “warning labe”l that it is not very plausible-frankly ludicrous- to consider that you would have taken every professional risks to not stay silent when oner should protest and make public antidepressants dangerous side effects just to promote ECT.

    Warning label,

    Although ECT might carry more side effect that we once thought, the acute post seizure period is not the aim of the treatment and not the right moment to assess the risk/benefit ratio or the motivation of the psychiatrist having proposed it.

    The link you provided us with has got some demagogic political line of reasonning there: one will not dare to write that, since on awaking from anesthesia for open heart cardiac surgery the clients are not in good shape, cardiac surgeons lack morals and cardiac surgery should be prohibited.

    Report comment

      • anonymous,

        Although it gives you easy way to attack me and it is not to be denied that a general anesthesia and the production of a seizure are not trival matters, I maintain that it is manipulative to use the post-anesthesia period to judge ECT as it would be to judge any surgical procedure.

        My comparaison was provocative for sure and if it gives you pleasure to despise me for it, enjoy yourself.

        Report comment

          • (From the editor: While we welcome, encourage, and desire information and discussion about ECT, we are also receiving complaints from readers who wish to be able to read comment threads that are pertinent to the topics raised in a particular blog. Out of respect for their time and in the hope of a full and rich discussion of bloggers’ work, we request that comment focus on the topics raised in the comment of blogs. We look forward to thorough critiques and analyses of ECT in our upcoming forums and in the comment threads of blogs to which the discussion is germane, having been raised in the content of the blog.)

            Report comment

          • “we are also receiving complaints from readers who wish to be able to read comment threads that are pertinent to the topics raised in a particular blog.”

            Out of respect to the un-named complainers?

            Here’s a complaint, from me. I’m complaining about your ridiculous censorship.

            What about some respect for us?

            This was never about changing the discussion to one on electroshock.

            It was about the credibility of the author, Dr. Healy, to even speak about the safety and efficacy of any somatic treatment, SSRIs or elctroshock, due to his reputation being seriously undermined by his support for electroshock.

            But you’re censoring, and you don’t want your reprints of Dr. Healy’s blogs plastered with the truth hat he is a false reformer concerned about the safety of only drugs, and not in the least critical of electroshock.

            I would say that if an article is written by an author and he is criticizing one particular somatic mental illness treatment, that it IS GERMANE to his credibility to mention his uncritical acceptance of another somatic mental illness treatment.

            But pockmark and scar your comment threads with censorship if you want to, if you think it makes you look anything than egregiously censorious.

            You say people ‘complained’ and wanted to read a comment thread to their liking.

            Well guess what! this is the internet and comment threads are not the content, a portion of readers don’t get to control the comments, they are only guaranteed the content, not the comments.

            Now you’ve alienated some of your most active commenters, and you have the sniveling gall to say you care about the other readers ‘time’!

            Their ‘time’, are you serious? the people who ‘just want to the read the comments related to Dr. Healy’s critique of SSRIS’ is that it? and given so many have been so surprised and shocked when they are told in a comment of his uncritical acceptance of electroshock, you don’t think this is relavant AT ALL to Dr. Healy’s general standing as a psychiatric reformer?

            “Remain relevant to the conversation at hand.”

            If it any way relates to psychiatry, the comment is in the conversation at hand.

            I take back EVERY WORD of what I said in my long post the other day that you said was moving. I take back EVERY WORD.

            Why are you selectively censoring?

            Your explanations do not cut it.

            They do NOT!

            You’re selectively enforcing your policy anyway.It’s patently obvious.

            Report comment

        • Dr. Breggin did no such thing as you describe in your absurd heart attack comparison, a real medical disease unlike psychiatry’s bogus DSM stigmas. Though he commented on the lobotomy like pathetic condition of those subjected to ECT immediately after it with great sympathy, his real focus in the article is the brain damaging effects of ECT and its lack of efficacy beyond this brain damage. This is proven in studies I included in past articles here and the obvious experience of ECT victims like Sonia here and the author of the book, DOCTORS OF DECEPTION, I cited elsewhere.

          Of course, as Dr. Breggin and others point out, when psychiatry was more honest and less worried about scrutiny, they admitted that brain damage was/is the intended effect of ECT, neuroleptic drugs and other so called psychiatric “treatments.” Dr. Max Fink, the long term leading advocate of ECT joined by Dr. Healy admitted this in the past, but retracted such statements when he thought it might put ECT at risk. Dr. Fink and his ECT cohorts did all in their power to prevent any ECT studies so that they could continue to claim there was no “evidence” that ECT causes brain damage despite all the destroyed lives of their many victims and other real evidence to the contrary by victims and experts alike.

          Dr. Breggin is merely pointing out the inconsistency of Dr. Healy about the scientific evidence regrading psychiatric drugs versus ECT, since he was initially puzzled that this seeming reform psychiatrist regarding psych drugs was so critical of those in the reform movement. This mystery was solved when Dr. Breggin found that Dr. Healy is taking Dr. Fink’s place as the major ECT promoter since such a position is hardly in keeping with the reform movement of psychiatry as he describes in his article.

          Since Dr. Breggin cares about his many followers who have trusted him so long, it is obvious he felt that those believing Dr. Healy is a reform psychiatrist due to his work on psych drugs should be very cautious about his opposite views on ECT.

          Also, books like THE EMPEROR’S NEW DRUGS and many similar ones have been exposing that psych drugs are pretty useless including SSRI’s which are no better than placebo per the majority of studies. And despite the dangerous effects of SSRI’s he exposes, Dr. Healy claims that he still prescribes them. Perhaps he has a crystal ball as to who will suffer the deadly effects or not.

          Report comment

          • Donna,

            I do not want to be offensive but it is clear to me that you need training if you want to discuss with some credibility with MDs-unless you are discussing your own personal case(s)by which I mean giving your personal experience as a sufferer or as a carer.

            Your antipsychiatry stand is something I find hard to bear because:

            1) with the French and other civilized country criminal law (non- assistance à personne en danger)I can go to jail if a person committed suicide after I refused ECT that person asked for- yes it happens my dear and I iknow of a psychiatrist who begged to receive ECTs if more than psychotherapy and exercice was needed because he had been impotent and overweight etc.. on pills! Sorry but not everybody is Sonia and this is not given Sonia a bad name.

            2) Ethic makes it hard toi refuse agressive treatment when someone is in danger of suicide or is suffering hell: I know and luckily he went of the French television of a beautiful young man who gain 30 kgs from neuroleptics but is thankful because he suffered incredibly painful cenesthesic hallucinations with conviction of his bones being rotten inside his body who was becoming a cadaver very slowly starting from the inside of the bones-said he because his bones were obviously still rigid and he kept using his limbs but he felt that its bones had started to decompose.

            NB: You are just ignorant and abusive of me and I am not to take it for long without answering it: I have been a resident in neurosurgery at La salpetrière hospital in Paris for 6 months.

            I can write with assurance” that even in surgery you have to define a benefit/risk ratio and not every intervention is to be performed without any hesitation- except few real emergencies like when you have to take anything to open the temporal skull of a person suffering from an extra-dural hematoma.

            I am now sorry that I helped remove so many vertebral disk for backache and happy that I escaped it as much as I could because the very good “back-surgeon” had no conversation and the operation was so boring with very little for the helper to do except that to get cramps in the hands to keep the surgical wound open and close it afterward. We now know that a medical treatment is better in most cases.

            Some brain tumor are of difficult access and the surgery will cause damage.

            Even in cardiosurgery or obstetrics you have a risk/ratio for the interventions.

            So please get some education and try to develop some minimum self-criticism abilities because you have just lost any credibility with me at least.

            Report comment

    • I agree, Dr. Fulli -that it is a ludicrous presumption, at best! All the more reason to ignore the parade that marches through every post the good doctor writes and shares here on MIA. They are marching to the tune of a very rigid, aging, unsung hero of psychiatry reform in America. Taking my cues from Dr. Healy himself. Just give a little tip of your hat– a bit of respect for the old guy. Wait until the toot of the last bassoon wanes– *then get back to work*

      Report comment

      • In the end, the persons put on antidepressants without proper information on the risks involved will be are paying the bill of vile attacks against Pr Healy.In addition, I am not convinced yet, but he might have got something with his attacks on RCT.

        Thanks then, paradoc for your support since it takes many people to have a sexy conspiratory theory undone and as Beaumarchais put it in “Figaro’s wedding” “Slander! Slander! Part of it is assured to remain ” (amateur translation).

        NB: Do not forget that a lot of money is made by selling books and that “conspiratory theories ” might sell well.

        Plus, simplistic vision of any problem makes easy reading and it is an easy stand to shout loud about any treatment when you work not in a hospital receiving clients you didn’t choose. Writing books at leisure when running a private practice is a different matter.

        Being old is not an excuse to my mind since too much younger people need to have their voice heard-(and I am not young)

        Report comment

        • Dr. Fulli,

          So nice to have a dialogue partner here! I want to expand on your points about ECT with some musings of my own.

          I find this analogy: making judgments about a relationship thru the lens of the postcoital refractory period to be appropo to what you mention about assessing the effect of ECT- because the lens here is emotionally driven by the need to believe—in something that justifies one actions. I will carry this *analogy*forward—-

          The problem with RCTs and the literature devouring *peanut gallery* who attack D. Healy after each blog he posts on MIA is the same—IMO. Consider what happens when: one has already decided upon an outcome–*ahead of the process of discovery*–ALL perceptions are run through the filter, the sieve of *belief*. Such is the case with PHARMA whose beliefs are carved out of marketing- and the agenda of the slanderous citings of the *peanut gallery* who will attack you and I for attempting to learn something from D. Healy’s writing here.

          Yes. D. Healy has got many things right. BUT the most telling is what he prefaced this 3 part intro to going live. His plea to have his errors *discovered* by those who continue to lead the decision making processes of patients and psychiatrists alike.

          It is a different world for those of us who are engaged in finding solutions for a growing number of suffering people—one size does not fit all and myopia is as dangerous as total ignorance! For those who work from an *agenda* we waste our breath telling a ECT success story, that can be as confounding as the case of the mildly anxious young adult who hangs himself in the throws of a side effect from an SSRI, known to us as, akathisia! We try to validate the experiences of individual patients— PHARMA and the *mob* of psychiatry reformers will claim to be protecting the rights of the *whole group* to have *it ALL*. Though appearing to be opposite agendas, the premise seems similar to me- both sides stack the deck, and wear concerned expressions as they deal the cards to *health care consumers and caregivers alike*.

          Opening a venue for *everyone* patient and caring mental health professional alike is what D. Healy has innovated. Sadly—the value is lost to *those* who have assigned themselves the role of *watchdog* over the treatment choices of people—the very same people they claim to champion the rights of.

          Report comment

          • paradocs writes: “For those who work from an *agenda* we waste our breath telling a ECT success story”

            The above post is a compilation of non sequiturs masquerading as logic. Accusing critics of ECT as being driven by an ideological agenda is a way of circumventing honest and open debate. Accusing those critics of setting themselves up as “watchdogs” is similarly an ad hominem attack that ignores the substance of the issue at hand.

            A moment’s reflection would show how these same nonsensical attacks could be turned against Dr. Healy’s fine critiques of SSRIs etc. : so, for example, defenders of SSRIs could accuse Dr. Healy and paradocs of working from an agenda that leads them to ignore SSRI “success stories.” Or one could describe Dr. Healy as positioning himself as a “watchdog” who polices correct opinion about SSRIs. Neither of these rhetorical moves would be fair to Dr. Healy, as they would fail to address the substance of his critiques. It is truly sad, then, that paradocs seeks to squash any serious discussion of ECT by the type of cheap rhetorical gambits that pharma’s defenders can and have used against Dr. Healy himself.

            Report comment

          • There is much to criticize in ECT but there is no reason at all to reduce Dr. Healy’s work to nothing but transgressions against humanity.

            There are many, many other doctors who are much more deserving of such ire.

            What about his project Have you nothing to say about that?

            Report comment

          • I think par docs has gotten a free pass as a doctor with no proof of that. I don’t think anyone should be allowed to post credentials like M.D. or an implication they are an M.D. unless they prove to the web monitor they have them or in other ways that can be verified. This is all the more important because such “experts” get special treatment, deference and immunity from civility, censorship, etc. while being able to silence/censor those they attack. They also have the potential to influence others, which is dangerous when one pretends to have medical or related health credenitials they do not have.

            Report comment

        • It is with deep sadness that I see that Ageism and the moral (if not legal) crime of hate speech has been tolerated and overlooked here at “Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that vilifies a person or a group on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic,” according to Wikipedia.

          Even more disappointing is to see Ageism used against someone with over 50 years of reform work and experience in the field of ‘mental health.’ Consider that Dr. Breggin has a weekly radio show, blogs on HuffingtonPost, continues to publish scientific articles, has a new medical textbook coming out July 2012, has just signed another contract for his next mass market book, has spoken to 12 million people on the radio in the last two weeks, leads an international nonprofit organization, and frequently travels for conferences and legal cases. To bring up his age is surely the last ditch effort of a corrupt person with little or nothing of value to offer.

          Of course, this is additionally personal for me. I am 61 years of age. My beloved husband is a robust and vigorous 76 years old. My mother is a marvelously productive eighty-six years old, active and beloved in her community.

          To speak disparagingly of someone because he is an older person is an ad hominum attack (Merriam-Webster: “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect”). Sites that tolerate such hate speech are considered hate sites, according to Wikipedia. I do not believe that is this site’s intention.

          I would caution this group and this site to remember that one of the most abused and neglected groups vulnerable to psychiatry and its many abuses are the aged and older persons. It is deeply alarming to read ageist attacks by self-identified psychiatrist, Ivana Fulli, MD, and self-identified professional “Para Doc” who are in positions to take out their prejudices against older patients. Elderly women especially are targeted for electroshock and older persons suffering from dementia or in institutional care due to frailities are commonly exposed to contraindicated drugs such as the antipsychotics, causing debilitation and shortened life spans. Hate speech toward any group or persons sharing characteristics will encourage negative cultural attitudes and outcomes toward those persons.

          Report comment

        • >>There is much to criticize in ECT but there is no reason at all to reduce Dr. Healy’s work to nothing but transgressions against humanity.

          There are many, many other doctors who are much more deserving of such ire<<

          Bears repeating!

          Thank you, Altostrata for your concise and eloquent statements.

          Report comment

      • Donna,

        I am a qualified psychiatrist and I do not think that autism, Marfan syndrome or Down syndrome are deseases and in France the autistic persons and family are adamant that htey want to be considered handicapped and not suffering mental illness.

        Down syndrome persons want respect of their difference and of their right to live freely in society, work, pay taxes and have sex and realtionships. Marfan sundrome persons and autisitc persons can become psychologists, rocket scientists or Field medal laureate when a Down syndrome human being’s forte is their incredible warmth and gentleness.Quite difficult for them to become activists, I am afraid!

        None of those thre kind of “different” people desserve to be called mentally ill unless they suffer from a mental illness.

        I know of one Down syndrome middle-aged man who lives in an upperclass house with his mother and his college students nephews and is a happy dedicated caterer employee(he prepares meal tray for an airline). I know of him because his niece who lived at her grand-mother ‘s place to study in comfort in Paris found the cheerfulness and admirative loving support of her uncle (who was so proud to have such an intelligent niece that she was attempted med school ) a great support when in stressful exams times!

        And if you must know -and I fear that nothing else will do to treat your anger-

        one of my first grade cousin living in Rome (Italy) where I was born, had given birth at a young age (no DNA testing offered to her because she was young) to a babydaughter with Down syndrome. On the contrary, my sister, Lia Fulli-Mazzeo wanted a second child when she was close to 40 years of age and told me -when pregnant for a very desired second child – that she refused a DNA test to abort a Down Syndrome foetus if that were to be the case. My sister told me that she just said to the obstetrician that anyway she wouldn’t abort a Down syndrome foetus and that she wouldn’t take the little but real risk to harm her foetus or even loose that desired pregnancy. May be it has to do with the fact that my sister is a devored catholic but another fact might have play a part: our first grade cousin’s Down syndrome daughter was a delightful, pretty in her eurasian looking way , cheerful pre-school assistant teacher. it costed her family dedication and a lot of money to educate that Down syndrome child against prejudice of persons like you Donna!

        So, yesterday you hurted my feelings when you wrote Down syndrome as an illness (I am pro-choice but concerned by eugenism ). I let it go and you know what , you remember me a USA singer, Mo, who was telling on television to two men of superior intelligence and culture (salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchen) that he wanted to think by himself about Al Quaïda confusing it with the Taliban and he kept going unfazed when his confusion was pointed to him…

        PS: I am sorry that I had to get personal to try to appease your anger and it is only because I am a foreigner and feel that I might have offended sonia unvonlontarily that I am writing that.

        Report comment

        • I don’t think I would want to be called a “Down Syndrome Person” or totally identified as a genetic difference. I think calling the people by their name once you know them is best. I will have to seek out the politically correct term in every case since my detractors are looking for every minute flaw to sidetrack from the issue of ECT facts based on expert studies, etc.

          Report comment

      • Alto,

        Fluent, yes but still the French idiomatic expression is “Cri du coeur” and not “Cri de coeur” who sound like a cooking recipe using veal heart.

        I corrected it because it looks bad to “French eyes”.

        I considered myself fluent in English but -since i am not living in an English speaking country -try as I might even when I write with care I make mistakes.

        And to comment a blog in English ,I better not to think too much about my English for it would take too much time to write almost correctly…

        Report comment

  4. This is very revealing:

    >>But FDA has in fact labelled imipramine and other tricyclic antidepressants as causing suicide. They did so for political reasons. In 2004, they put a class-wide labelling for suicide risk on all antidepressants so that the makers of the latest drugs would not be disadvantaged. They had in fact offered to put a class-wide warning on all antidepressants as early as 1990.

    It must be clear from this that we are about to descend into a morass…<<

    Yes… a slippery slope- to be sure. Gone are the days when anti-depressants were prescribed for actual depression- in cases where both passive and active suicidal ideation were assessed throughout treatment. Now, more and more, SSRIs are prescribed for a myriad of complaints that often read like little more than a period of transition through life's challenges and pitfalls. The patient is the last to know that the *safer* antidepressant can make him feel like he is really going mad. A side effect of SSRIs can make the mildly dissatisfied patient seek death- and usually by violent means,— for* relief*!

    A patient-centered, life saving approach is long overdue. Brilliant idea, **. Mark of a true genius! Bravo, Dr. Healy! Looking forward to your next two installments for this exciting *solution*

    —and the *sour grapes* mantra from that grumpy old chap—what's his name???

    Report comment

    • Truly, Dr. Healy has made a genuine contribution with He wants to provide a better database of adverse events and post-marketing data than the FDA or other government organizations.

      A high aspiration, to be sure, and much needed.

      Anyone having had an adverse experience with psychiatry should add it to

      Report comment

      • ///A high aspiration, to be sure, and much needed.///

        I agree with you since a neuro pharmacologist can give knowledge by learning to complement the knowledge by experience of clients.

        It makes it more courageous though from an academic who dares to anger other academics on big pharma pay roll and may be become also the target of thinskinned activists.

        Report comment

  5. I find the attacks here on Dr. Peter Breggin vile and disgusting given his long distinguished career as the “conscience of psychiatry.” Dr. Breggin stood alone exposing the huge brain and other damage caused by psych drugs, ECT, lobotomy and other barbaric psychiatric practices long before Dr. Healy came on the scene. Of course, Dr. Healy gave no credit to Dr. Joseph Glenmuller, Dr. Breggin and others who exposed the suicide and other dangers of SSRI’s ahead of him just like Dr. Breggin’s ignorant detractors here. At least Dr. Breggin is consistent in that he is against ALL brain damaging atrocities perpetrated by main stream psychiatry of which Dr. Fulli and her cohort here seem to be major perpetrators. So, it is little wonder that they would try to discredit Dr. Breggin who actually cares about those in emotional distress rather than destroying their lives to make profit centers of their suffering with DSM junk science and fraudulent drug and other studies, the goal of mainstream psychiatry, like his critics here.

    I won’t waste my time responding to any more of these outrageous, dishonest, slanderous, disrepectful, childish, uncivil rants against Dr. Breggin and others. I can only say that based on my personal experience and as a long term follower of Dr. Breggin, he has saved many lives while main stream psychiatry destroyed them and continues to seek new ways to do so with their latest pseudoscience of eugenics.

    All one has to do is check out the latest studies I cited on a recent article on this blog by Bentham & Read and even long term ECT promoter Sackeim admitting that ECT does cause brain damage, cognitive dysfunction, loss of short and long term memory, etc. A very negative review of Dr. Healy’s ECT book there is also enlightening regarding its one sided view that ignores all the important studies and facts. Everyone knows that both ECT and neuroleptics cause brain damage as their INTENDED, DESIRED effects by psychiatry, but Dr. Breggin was one of the very few willing to go public about it many years ago. Obviously, Dr. Fulli knows nothing about Dr. Breggin’s distinguished career often fighting alone and unsupported against horrific barbaric comebacks described in Robert Whitaker’s MAD IN AMERICAL like lobotomy, ECT, etc. And she accuses Dr. Breggin of slander!! She twists everything he says to make him appear to be saying what he isn’t saying and obviously does not know what she is talking about.

    And note these supposed experts here don’t show a shred of empathy for Sonia here and others who suffered from ECT loss of memory and brain function thanks to trusting Dr. Healy’s advice on ECT due to his work with psych drugs. How typical of main stream psychiatry. His two cheerleaders here can be very proud of that. It’s nice to know that when Dr. Breggin criticizes toxic psych drugs, he won’t pull an equally or even worse brain damaging torture treatment out of some black bag of hidden dirty tricks. That’s why his long term followers trust him completely and have great respect and admiration for him, his ethics, courage and credibility unlike his detractors here.

    Also, at least Dr. Breggin, Sonia and I gave Dr. Healy credit for the good work he has done to expose the dangers of SSRI and other drugs unlike our malevolent detractors with their ad hominem attacks. Sadly, this well known tactic of main stream psychiatry/BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS is to sidetrack from the real issues and the facts as usual by attempting to kill the messengers. I hope anyone considering this issue will check out the FACT and actual SCIENCE about ECT and any related issues.

    Report comment

    • “A very negative review of Dr. Healy’s ECT book there is also enlightening regarding its one sided view that ignores all the important studies and facts.”

      Could you post a link to the blog / review? My interest has been piqued.

      Report comment

        • In all honesty, I really don’t like having to do this. It is very difficult to decide which comments go over the line. We are trying to figure this out as we go; how to make a safe place for people who have not been heard to speak up. It’s simple to say that this simply would involve not removing any posts. That was a hoped-for approach when this all started. But when some people repeatedly ignore or fail to discern a line not to cross, we are being unfair to others who would wish for a civil and civic dialogue without interpersonal attacks and character assassination. So we have to wade in and try; but once doing so it becomes a massive undertaking to do oversight on every single comment on every blog. So, yes, it may look at first like favoratism. But really it’s just the result of trying to order back the tide. It would be vastly preferable if people would bear in mind that there are many equally wounded people, with different and perhaps opposed viewpoints, who wish to be part of the conversation but refrain because it’s hard to find a place to insert themselves.

          Report comment

          • Dr. D. ,
            Do you have a link to a web site/blog that does not provide rules for engaging in civil discussion and/or a moderation process?

            The most informative and engaging sites I have visited subject all reader comments to *moderation* no one’s comments are immediately posted.

            I think there is a common misunderstanding regarding *free speech*, the internet and forums for public discussion. If we were attending a conference, a talk given by any of the bloggers here, imagine the response of the audience and the speaker to some of the *free speech* on this site. In any case, I do not think there is value and benefit in the derailing of a comment thread or the branding of a blogger- for all who visit this site. If you are saying these activities serve the needs of a select group, then it should be within the rights of others to determine if the meeting of this groups’ needs threatens their sense of well being- when posting on the firing range!

            Report comment

          • Oh, hi, anonymous- The relevance is the evolution of a discussion about the problems arising from the discussion – which disregarded the topic of the psychiatrist writing here in order to shout warnings about a topic that just so happens to reflect an agenda on the part of the warning shouters to devalue the work presented here by the psychiatrist who, so far as I can tell, has not even signed on to the REFORM psychiatry movement- anyway- so why would he or anyone care that he is being ‘outed’ as a trojan horse in the REFORM movement of which he, and possibly any rational person would avoid like the plague?

            Oh- yeah- and the whole thing really amounts to a plan to take control of the blog so that no one can appreciate the important stuff the psychiatrist writes and works on 24/7, or if someone does think the writing and the work are valuable then it becomes a matter of urgency to warm him/her of the dark side of the psychiatrist and how he/she better not get carried away admiring the psychiatrist’s genius in psychopharmacology- his area of expertise by the way- because that kind of hero worship can lead to trust and that trust can be the main reason a person would have ECT. If that’s not bad enough, there is an even bigger underground movement that only these screamers (remember Sam Kinison?) can perceive. It has something to do with some reward or prize that the group who just wants to discuss the psychiatrist’s articles will get if they can silence the screamers. And, so- even if the screamers are overstepping just about every guideline that guy Bob Whitaker set up because he has a vision and maybe thinks he deserves a decent shot at achieving it- even if they are inadvertently slapping Bob Whitaker in the face- which I don’t need to tell you, hurts just as much as an intentional slap in the face- yeah-even if all that- there is a side bar faction developing to make every legitimate argument for moderating the screamers look like a plot to rob us of our first amendment rights, which means if we don’t come up with a compelling distraction- we’re headed for that comparison to Nazi Germany- which doesn’t really make sense, because WE actually came up with just about everything -Eugenics- et al, that started that mess and then we just acted like “Hey”- What the Hell are you fools doing!”- like we didn’t know it could go this far and suddenly we are the heroes- because that’s what we do – it takes the heat off of us so we can cook up other stuff that we actually guard a little more carefully, I think. Yeah- learning from our mistakes. That’s relevant to any topic on MIA- isn’t it?

            Report comment

          • Good luck Kermit! You’ve taken on an impossible task. All I can see on here is certain commenters writing with immunity from censorship. The rules, stupid and intolerant as they are, no matter how much you prettify them, should be applied equitably, yet you’ve somehow rationalised it in your head that you are doing just this.

            What makes you so sure you are free from subconscious motive, from the stultifying limitations placed on human understanding of things by our biases, prejudices and desires? People tend to reflexively think that some views are offensive and uncivil when the reality is is that they do not comport well with their own prejudices, biases and desires. Without seemingly realising it, you have set yourself up as the supreme arbiter of what is civil and what is not, even though civility, vis-a-vis our oppressors, is a privilege us survivors cannot afford when are interlocutors claim, for example, that they have the right to usurp our indefeasible right to sovereignty over our own bodies. Such soul-sappers and existential cannibals are worthy only of contempt and that is what they will get from me till the day I am released from the burden of existence.

            So I for one will be having nothing more to do with this site or any of Mr Whitaker’s work. Get it right round ya!

            Report comment

          • I disbelieve your assertion that there is but one truth and one method for conveying it. I say this because if this were the case and you are subscribing to a predetermined purpose for this webzine as a venue for any single viewpoint, then you imply there is a superior perspective and an ultimate goal. This tells me that you are discounting the value of each individual and the process of dialogue as a means for challenging the myriad harmful practices and detrimental effects associated with biomedical psychiatry.

            There is only one reason for the implementation of the guidelines. Just the one. ECT is not the topic of this blog and using the comment thread to interject personal agendas to discredit the author is not even a meager attempt at having a *discussion*. If you or anyone of the censored posters you defend here care to employ a reasonable argument against what the author has written, and you certainly should at least give it a try, that would be the most compelling way to discredit him. In fact, it is the only way, since he is not writing as a REFORM psychiatrist, but an expert in the field of psychopharmacology and data based medicine. These two areas are critically important to the safety and well being of millions of patients who take these drugs and equally important to those who are striving to re-establish sound scientific evidence to inform safe and effective medical practice.

            The offensive comments that were removed were not offending in the sense of evoking personal bias for or against ECT- conscious or subconscious. This is an opinion without factual basis and it is offensive to the degree that it is expressed with authority. You may believe what you wrote, but the content regarding this point is unknowable. You can only assume what you are saying is true- and in doing this you show no concern for the offensiveness of this accusation. Perhaps that was your point- offending others in the name of some perceived sense of effecting a higher good is right as rain, a universal principle. That is debatable. If you really seek to fulfill a higher purpose, you cannot deny the importance of knowing and respecting your audience- if you don’t respect ‘the people’ you are warning from your sense of duty- you risk being discredited yourself. In other words if caring enough to protect others is your motivation, disrespectful actions will nullify your claim to standing on higher ground.

            Report comment

        • Altostrata frames her comments around relevant and interesting facts and insights that pertain to the blog- undeniable proof that Altostrata READS the blog. We need her comments- all of them. She is a role model- well worth imitating.

          Report comment

  6. Donna,

    You wrote commenting another blog on MIA (Donna on May 30, 2012 at 12:02 am)

    /// Some illnesses like Downe Syndrome can be predicted because they involve only one gene. /// Down syndrome people and their parents paid recently in France for a public campaign asking for acceptance of their difference and of their value as humans beings , they look and learn and behave diffferent because of their 3 chromosomes 21 instead of a pair (a lot a genes in one humane chromosme Donna by the way).A down child is having a career as modelling for child clothing a

    Report comment

    • I also said that I do not pretend to be an expert in genetics, so I may have misquoted the exact science of Downe Syndrome I only used as an illustration of a disease that could be predicted due to proven, isolated genetics unlike the false claims of psychiatry with regard to EUGENICS to destroy those they falsely target to stigmatize and destroy with lethal poison drugs and ostracism. I certainly gave no advice whatever as to how this information might be used. I know some people with Downe Syndrome children and perhaps having such tests might prepare parents to deal with such children in advance.

      Report comment

  7. Sonia,

    If you suffer from ECTs side effects, you suffer of more than a bad memory of feeling tired after seizures I suppose and I am sorry about that.

    I was not intending to show a lack of concern for what you might have suffer as side effects of ECTs and I took the time to explain what I found unacceptable,manipulative and theory of conspiracy tainted in one text from Dr B.

    If he had been a formidable man, either he wrote that on a very bad day-that happens- or he didn’t age gracefully-that also happens.

    Report comment

    • Perhaps your language barrier and/or the personal prejudices/agendas of others against Dr. Breggin have caused you to vilify him to the point you missed the whole point of his article, which is the opposite of what you claim here and above with great sarcasm and cruelty in league with another poster.

      I regret this because I found some of your comments quite insightful and informative on other blogs and even some of the issues you raised here as somewhat reform minded.

      I have been following Dr. Breggin for decades and please believe me that Dr. Breggin has had only the most noble motives on behalf of those suffering emotional distress throughout his career. He has been fiercely protective of victims and would be victims of bogus biological psychiatry always and continues to follow this goal even if it means the whole mainstream psychiatry establishment and BIG PHARMA come down on his head again as seems to be the case here!

      I have also read tons of other works by psychiatric reformers and most would agree that Dr. Breggin is the father/hero/conscience of the reform movement in psychiatry.

      I am very said that you have misinterpreted him so badly. However, consider the facts about the issue at hand. ECT does cause brain damage, cognitive defects, loss of short and long term memory, loss of ability in one’s career and other horrific losses per many studies, experts and survivors including long term ECT promoters like Dr. Harold Sackeim (see his study I posted on another blog).

      Thus, I would think as a doctor, you might want to refocus on who is telling the truth about ECT and who is not rather than personalities or even age, and also think about the safety of would be victims of ECT.

      Again, FIRST DO NO HARM!

      Report comment

      • “Perhaps your language barrier” is a xenophobic remark since my English is that of a foreigner but my writing shows that I can read and understand English.

        I am used to it and recently a psychoanalyst used it against an argument of mine on Neuroskeptic blog!

        It is a xenophobic argument who is also the equivalent of a Godwin point.

        Report comment

        • You referred to your “broken English,” not me. My you are really going at it to attack me on every conceivable tiny detail or perceived error I’ve ever made with your cohorts. But, you have failed to address the issues of ECT damage. Also, psychiatry invents bogus stigmas and lies that they are genetic “diseases,” so I don’t think mainstream psychiatrists are ones to talk of human right violations of falsely stigmatizing people as mentally ill or diseased. Also, just because something like forced ECT or drugging and involuntary commitment are legal does not make them right any more than slavery or other laws like psychiatry’s eugenics abuses were right in the U.S. when legal.

          You may have seen the show GLEE in the U.S. that had a person with Downe’s Syndrome who acted quite normal and was very lovable. You failed to mention that I said I was not an expert on genetics and only used Downe’s Syndrome as an illustration of proven genetics. So, I certainly have meant no disrepect for anyone with this issue as I said before. But, anything is fair game in your attempt to demonize me, so keep looking for my faults rather than addressing ECT. Like you and others here, I have plenty of faults I admit unlike others.

          When I speak of issues out of my areas of expertise, I quote credible experts in the field since I do have expertise in research. Dr. Healy is credible on his drug research, but not credible on ECT according to many credible studies and experts in his field.

          Your ongoing trashing of me to avoid the real issues here is very sad.

          Report comment

          • Well then, Donna, judging from your super command of the language spoken here, it must be that you are deriving secondary gain from driving away readers. Why would you choose to address a psychiatrist (Ivana Fulli) using words that describe your disdain- for her? and consider your comment to be reflective of the policies established for “civil discussion” on this blog? Surely, you do understand the language of the policy… surely you are venting your own personal judgment of another psychiatrist who does not agree with either you or Dr. Breggin regarding Dr. Heally or the ECT issue. So what? If you can’t force a reader to agree with you, or engage with you on an issue that is not the topic of this blog- you just insult and demean until he/she goes away??

            I think there is a method to your madness here. I think you are going all out to pollute Dr. Healy’s blog. Now, you even suggest that there must be some subversive conspiracy in full swing to prevent you from warning people about deadly ECT and that Dr. Healy is so not a REFORM psychiatrist. Here you are again with your bull horn. Same message, different blog.

            You cannot possibly be a reader of Dr. Healy’s blog. This much is certain. You are consistently chastising those who do read these posts and have an interest in the content. What becomes apparent when reading through this thread is that, as noted by Ivana Filli MD, you are lacking in education and professional background which limits your capacity to engage with MDs( and other well informed activists) on the topics presented. Can you really influence the opinions and the beliefs of readers here? Of course. Words are powerful. You reveal yourself.

            Report comment

    • Dear Ivana,

      Yes, I suffer from much more than “a bad memory of feeling tired after seizures.” I appreciate your concern. I lost more than 1.5 years in memory (erased like a blackboard), but worse I no longer have the cognitive skills I once did. I find it hard to make new memories, to learn to do new things, and to read highly theoretical material which requires synthesizing large amounts of information. I estimate that i have lost about 20 IQ points. I have not been able to return to my work as a writer since the ECT because of these problems. I have however met many other people in this time whose post-ECT experiences are similar or worse than mine.

      I am not looking for sympathy. I take responsibility for believing ECT was safe and effective and believing the doctors that I was only risking a little memory loss. I was fooled in this regard, as were the mostly well-meaning doctors who treated me. I am not trying to “watchdog” anyone’s treatment options. I merely believe that people in extreme mental and emotional distress who are contemplating ECT deserve the right to truly informed consent.

      One of the reasons I chose ECT was because I was a major admirer of Dr. Healy’s work. I had greatly appreciated his books on pharma (psych drugs had been awful for me) and when I read his ECT book he made it sound like a really good treatment for someone like me. I trusted his opinion because I so admired his other books and I figured that with his reformer perspective he would know what was really going on throughout psychiatry.

      Have you read Healy’s ECT book? He and his coauthor Edward Shorter make light of the types of side effects I experienced as “urban legends” reported by “psychoneurotics.” Have you read Linda Andre’s book Doctors of Deception? I strongly recommend it to anyone wanting a fuller picture of ECT than what psychiatrists typically teach. I went in to ECT believing David Healy was a good source of information as a reformer and ECT clinic director. Looking back, I have learned the hard way that when it comes to ECT he is not.

      Report comment

      • Sonia, I am very sorry for your suffering.

        Would you please convey your complaints to Dr. Healy already?

        It seems like you are trying to rally a lynch mob. I can understand your desire for revenge, but this is not the way to do it. If you want Dr. Healy to change his mind, you should engage him directly.

        Report comment

        • Dear Altostrata,

          You are seriously misreading me. I am not trying to rally a lynch mob and I am not seeking revenge on Dr. Healy. I bear him no ill will and I continue to appreciate many things about him.

          Frankly, it surprises me that people are so threatened by criticism of Healy.

          It makes me sad that there is such a divide on this site by those who have been harmed by psychiatry over how it is appropriate to share criticism and experiences.

          Report comment

        • Alostrata, The very same thing could be said about your constant rants about SSRI’S. Perhaps you should go to your original doctors if you want revenge rather than projecting your own behavior and intentions on others.

          Basically, you are saying that if the issue does not concern you, others have no right to discuss issues equallly important to them.

          Again, Dr. Healy has become the top ECT advocate, which is important to know for those who have been persuaded by his drug work that he is a reform psychiatrist. And please don’t attack about purity issues and ordering us to be grateful for the crumbs we can get. To disparage one brain damaging psychiatric treatment like toxic drugs that makes one appear a reform psychiatrist while hiding the fact that one is are the latest major advocate for the even more brain disabling ECT for the most part is a pretty big deal and not some minor issue.

          But, as long as you get your SSRI damage and withdrawal issues to be a major focus on every blog, others deserve to be silenced and bullied into submission with orders regarding what is acceptable behavior to you.

          From other comments I have read, you seem to have this problem with many others, so I suggest you apply your standards you try to force on others to yourself.

          I believe that once you succed in silencing all here about ECT you will stop posting since you post and make comments on Dr. Healy’s blog. Again, as long as your SSRI needs are met, that’s all that matters to you while I tend to focus on the bigger picture in the survivor movement.

          Report comment

          • Sung to the tune of : “It’s a hard knock life”

            Donna takes center stage with her bucket and mop.

            >>Again, Dr. Healy has become the top ECT advocate, which is important to know for those who have been …<<

            You mean, for all of us who read Dr. Healy's posts and TRY to discuss them? Or, for those of us who are not particularly interested in your *breaking news*?

            For your nasty comments about the author of this blog and the posters here who have little cause to respect your self proclaimed *crusader for a noble cause* EXCUSE for your caustic behavior , I think you should win a trip to Wales. Dr. Breggin can pay his own way. The two of you can have all the time you need to *discuss* your airtight case with Dr. Healy and his associates.

            We'll wait patiently to hear a report of substance. 🙂 From the front lines.

            Report comment

      • Sonia,

        I have not read that Dr Healy’s book and to tell you the truth one of my many undone research protocols from the 80s had been to compare unilateral ECTs against bilateral ECTs and I tried to get Pr Loo -under whom I was a resident at that time- to obtain from the hospital a very modern machine with record of the parameters and of the seizure because a woman had complained about longer than expected memeory loss to me.

        It was not to be because when I was writing the protocol I had another study I had conceived published in “The lancet” and that was the end of my academic career prospect in pharmacology since it was about hormone and mood disorder- I was considered out of my mind by the pahrm

        Report comment

    • Ivanna,

      I think this is a very sound conjecture:

      >>If he had been a formidable man, either he wrote that on a very bad day-that happens- or he didn’t age gracefully-that also happens<<

      It also happens that Dr. Breggin has a long standing habit of weighing and measuring his colleagues and finding them lacking. As a maverick he has won well deserved praise. As a senior citizen he seems to be ungracefully clinging to that image of himself.

      The formidable posture that adorns the golden years of a hero is the humility he displays applying himself to supporting the next generation of pioneers, or raising successors with a sense of appreciation for their having both a clear vision and a personal stake in the future. There is a greater need at present for innovators and those who can mitigate the well known adverse effects of bad science, bad medicine combined with greed and corruption. There is an overabundance of fault finding activity and a lacking in the implementation of real -time, effective solutions. It seems almost criminal to cause trouble for anyone engaged in the hard work of reducing the damage from PHARMA – a crucial undertaking as we all know that controlling, much less eliminating this threat to life and health is beyond the capability of a *maverick* of any proportions. One has to wonder why Dr. Breggin fails to confront such crucial aspects of reality- and why he would seek to interfere in any way with the progress Dr. Healy is making. Certainly we don't want to display disrespect for Dr. Breggin—condoning via silence, his defamation of Dr. Healy would be disrespect, in my humble opinion.

      Report comment

        • C’mon anonymous- admit it- you didn’t even read the article ,did ya?

          And you haven’t shared any issues with short term memory, so you must be in touch with the purpose you had in mind when you’ve been busy plastering links to Breggin’s screaming “Look out! Healy isn’t one of us! ” Yeah, P.B. does like to shock his audience- and deny causing any damage whatsoever! And you are slinking around here making sure you find a fly in the ointment so you can holler, “Foul”!

          But- back to your not even reading the article here. BUT sticking to the comment thread like white on rice- for the purpose you restated (above somewhere) in such a way that you came right out and confessed you are determined to discredit Dr. Healy. That is a personal attack and a pretty arrogant admission of totally blowing off the topic of the blog post that just looks like you peeking around a corner and saying “Come and get me- here I am- breaking all the rules because I fee-e-el like it.” I wouldn’t even hit the delete button if I were the moderator reading that foolishness- what I’d do is hit a button that launched a rotten tomato in your general direction and go on about my business..And it wouldn’t be long before I run into you whining about a comment that discredits the source you used to discredit the guy whose blog you don’t even read- and now that I think about it, P.B probably doesn’t read D.Hs blogs either or his books, articles, travel logs or poetry, because he is too busy putting putting D.H’s business in the street and getting other people to do what he isn’t about to do- put his big self in writing on Dr. Healy’s blog or web site. Sorry, but you really can’t expect everyone to snap to attention or drop to their knees at the mere mention of a Bregginism. If we were vampires and P.B was a cross. different story- but that’s not how it is and if you want to stay in everyone’s face with the skinny on the psychiatry reform movement according to Peter Breggin – be prepared for some backlash on that very topic and just because everyone doesn’t weigh in don’t think silence is agreeing with you. some folks just roll their eyes or suck their teeth when Breggin’s name is mentioned for the 50,0000th time on a website that he hasn’t shown up on for reasons only you could know.
          If it were up to me, I’d chalk up your stamina for hollering out the warning about Breggin’s breaking news on why you just better forget about reading anything Healy writes, to adrenalin rushes that are messing up your cerebration networks and leaving you without a way to see how virtually impossible it would be that your warning is going to reach that hard to imagine reader teetering on the edge of deciding whether or not to have ECT- or to schedule ECT for a loved one , or was about to sign a petition to mandate ECT for aliens. I wouldn’t have the heart to delete your warnings, but I surely would hope you would read them again down the road and wish someone had deleted them- or that the virtual automatic rotten tomato launcher had never been invented. 🙂

          Report comment

    • (Removed for relevance to this particular conversation. While we welcome and encourage information, discussion and debate about ECT and any number of things elsewhere on this website, in particular when the forums are up and running, we hope to keep conversations in a particular comment thread germane to the subject of the blog to which it is attached.)

      Report comment

  8. RCTs have their limits, and they are not always gold, but I think everybody is better-off if we agree they cannot be superseded by “anecdotal clinical experience”, except in extraordinary circumstances.

    Most polypharmacy, including incredible “cocktails” of 4 to 8 medications are justified based on “clinical experience” while the quasi-unanimity of RCTs examining polypharmacy is showing absolutely no benefits from multiple medications.

    If you claim it is legitimate to consider “clinical experience” for side-effects, isn’t there a danger to no longer being able to denounce the scandalous gap between the moderate conclusions of RCTs, and the incredible pills-pushing done by doctors. The majority of pills-pushing is only justified by “clinical experience” claims, it could never be justified by RCTs alone. RCTs are often the only line of defense against drug abuse, that should be kept in mind, before opening a pandora box.

    Report comment

    • There’s an interesting discussion about the place of “anecdotal” information on Dr. Healy’s blog at

      The problem that I see is that once a drug is launched, motivation and funding for RCTs dies down. Since the developmental RCTs are never long enough to capture adverse events over time, post-marketing data has to come from “anecdotal” reports.

      The last 20 years of psychiatric research are such a mess, though, it’s hard to say anything good about RCTs in this particular field. I guess clinicians need a place to start, but RCTs are not as trustworthy as they should be, and it’s important for doctors to know that.

      Report comment

    • Thought you might like to know that the quote you reference from the introduction to Dr. Healy’s blog- this one, here; that quote is in the context of a letter written to the editor of Lancet, a british Medical journal. As Dr. Healy points out below:

      >>This cri de coeur (cry from the heart) is from a letter I sent to Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet, in 2000, when his journal was reviewing an article I had submitted (see<>“[I suggest] a meeting with yourself and your reviewers. I have spoken in public on these issues and offered to speak on any platform. I’ve visited the MHRA [British equivalent of FDA]. Part of my motivation has stemmed from a willingness, indeed almost a desire to be proven wrong, as the consequences of not being proven wrong are in many respects horrific. If you have a reviewer who can point out the error of my ways I will take any steps that might be called for in the light of any conversion”.<<

      I think there can be no doubting Dr. Healy's seriousness here- and that the topic was the dangerous side effects of psychotropic drugs- namely, SSRIs. Notice his reference to The MHRA- the British equivalent of the FDA?

      Pertinent Bio: "David Healy is a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and author of over 120 articles and 12 books," as of 2004- this appears on the back cover of "Let them Eat Prozac".

      I would not necessarily agree that Dr. Healy has identified himself as a Reformer of psychiatry, It may be well worth noting that he encountered the ugly truth about PHARMA when he rather innocently reported information that was in the scope of his job to make known to his peers in psychiatry. I use the term, innocent, to reflect the sincerity of his attitude towards simply "doing his job' which reflected- and still does, the high degree of expertise he brings to the study and review of psychotropic drugs. The expansion of his work to incorporate the history of PHARMA and the corruption tainted evolution of the practice of medicine has been a reflection of his sense of duty, and responsibility in the wake of ongoing attempts to destroy his credibility and his career.

      From this perspective, I find the activity on this blog that is rooted in a bent to make a connection between his practice of psychiatry and his work in psychopharmacology is as off topic as it is off base. In any case, this is not the place for anyone's personal case against ECT and/or Dr. Healy's association with it.

      Agreeing with Altostrata. you should take your personal grievance directly to Dr. Healy- in a letter, a personal message addressed to him. Especially since you have stated that you respect his work in psychopharm- the demonstration of that respect would be to stop disrupting his work on this blog.

      Thank you.

      Report comment

      • Sonia,

        I do not have a “personal grievance” and this is the first and only blog of Dr. Healy’s where I have participated. I have not stated that I “respect his work in psychopharm”. I’m not sure where you read it, but I certainly was not the author.

        I’m very glad you had an opportunity to express yourself, but please do not hone in on me personally or attempt to “correct” me. I responded appropriately to acknowledge removal of my comments, and I find your comment to me to be quite unwarranted. Please let it rest at that.

        Report comment

      • As Winston Churchill said, “You can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts.” Once again, I refer you to the studies I cited on another recent post here about all the brain damage caused by ECT in additon to the risk of death greatly downplayed by ECT promoters. One study is by Benthall & Read and one is by Harold Sackeim, lifelong controller and promoter of ECT who finally released the ECT studies for which he was given huge grants by the government near the end of his career. He also revealed he had hidden ties to ECT device makers with great conflicts of interest he illegally failed to report. His studies confirm what his victms knew all along: ECT causes brain damage, memory loss, cognitive impairment and much harm/risk in general. Benthall & Read summarize their study by saying that due to the great risk and damage from ECT and its lack of efficacy, it cannot be justified in any way. Dr. Healy’s ECT book is criticized as totally one sided and lacking any scientific, medical or other credibility per reviews cited by Sonia and me. Along with an excellent review of Dr. Healy’s ECT book I posted on a recent post, there are related articles.

        Emerson said “Foolish consistancies are the hobgoblins of little minds.” But, when it comes to medicine and science, “foolish inconsistencies can be very dangerous and deadly.”

        Report comment

        • I am riveted by the FACT that this blog post has a title,content and purpose that stimulates discussion and debate. While it is obvious that others share the OPINION that this comment thread should focus on the author, the author’s other interests, other writings, and maybe most of all another OPINION of his *status* as a true member of a narrowly defined psychiatry reform, movement. Which clearly exposes the FACT that you have nothing to say about the author’s writing that precedes the comment thread. Then, it is a FACT that you dismiss the guideline printed right here on the “Leave a Reply” box:
          > Remain relevant to the conversation at hand.

          If your comment is removed as is also stated by the moderator as the action that will result from failing to adhere to the guidelines, then you branch off to assigning nefarious motives to the moderator’s actions- as ‘censorship’ with ulterior motives.

          Ultimately, I am of the opinion that if your *off topic-of the actual article* posts remain, then another conversation can be pursued. The FACT that you write only about what points to a plea to examine the credibility of the author to discuss any aspect of dangerous practice within the field of psychiatry, supplying FACTS from other sources, opens the possibility of rebuttals that discredit your source, as well as question the relevance of this info to the credibility of the author whose credentials for discussing all aspects of psychopharmacology are irrefutable. In other words, it is fairly obvious that your *topic* cannot discredit Dr. Healy’s writing and work in his field of expertise, or discount the crucial aspects he is revealing regarding the the fallacies of relying on RCTs and statistical data. What you can do is create a distraction that impedes this discussion on his blog. And what you have done is discredit posters who who respond in ways I already mentioned, or suggest they are *pro ECT* and part of some agenda to promote it via support for Dr. Healys’ writing- that is appearing on this blog.

          It is your OPINION that you are merely doing-by whatever means necessary- a public service in warning people about the dangers of ECT or trusting Dr. Healy as a *reformer* . But the FACT is these are personal attacks- NOT debating or discussing *issues* Personal attacks on other posters that have differing views that you cannot allow because they do not accord with your FACTS. Another dismissal of the moderator’s guidelines that lead you down the road of shouting *discrimination* due to your position on ECT.

          You may be promoting the idea expressed on other comment threads, that Dr. Healy and other psychiatrists should not be welcome on MIA; that it is an insult to psychiatric survivors to see them on this sacred site. That is also an OPINION, but one that should be directed to the moderator who invited these psychiatrists.
          The FACT that robert Whitaker is working with David Healy on may suggest to you that he he is showing a conflict of interest, a personal bias- or maybe the FACT that he collaborates with Dr. Healy suggests to you that Robert Whitaker has joined the ranks of *trojan horses* infiltrating the *reform* movement.. Or perhaps you need to hear that from Dr. Breggin before you decide it is a FACT.

          I’m not really so much opposed to any of the conversations you want to initiate, but I have to agree that the discussions that ensue are by more valuable and enriching when the guidelines for commenting here utilized by all of us. I will go so far as to say that first and foremost the ECT facts and other equally compelling stories by anyone who has received ECT are definitely valuable, and can only be properly acknowledged and discussed or even debated on a forum designated solely to this *topic*. By the same token, bringing these issues up here- using this blog as the example- dampens your message and disrupts the message in the content of the blog itself.

          Thank you for reading this. I am hopeful we can all contribute to a souition that reflects the respect due to each and every contributor to this invaluable venue.

          Report comment

          • This is your opinion with no facts or science to back it up whatever. Many people visiting this site do not agree with your position. Bob Whitaker wrote about ECT in MAD IN AMERCIA and I am well aware that he has worked with Dr. Healy regarding drugs alone. Bob Whitaker has also been a highly regarded expert in the reform movement of psychiatry and I greatly admire and respect him despite your efforts to sully that.

            You are the one who is insisting on making this a rigid either/or position since I admire and own many of Dr. Healy’s great books on psychiatric drugs. If I did not already greatly admire Dr. Healy for his work on psych drugs, the bipolar fad, the horrific drugging of children, your constant attacks would probably turn me against him as almost happened with a similar “critic” until I realized what was going on. I was upset by the critic’s constant unfair attacks and not Dr. Healy. So, if you think you are serving as a great advocate and protector of Dr. Healy, you might think again for those not as familiar with Dr. Healy’s fine work on drugs. Some of us can acutally do research, read studies, articles and books, consider our own or others’ experience and make up our own minds without being bullied into submission to think a required narrow way by would be petty dictators.

            So, continue to fire away if you truly believe it is helpful to your great cause to demonize me for having different views than you to “fight” for Dr. Healy.

            Report comment

  9. I find it very intersting and in keeping with my belief that there is a double standard here in that the nasty, abusive, very uncivil comments by so called doctors/mental health experts and their supporters here are applauded and remain here and elsewhere while those politely discussing equally valid ECT issues also discussed on this blog are censored and silenced here in the guise of being off topic while the doctors’ mostly positive comments on ECT or insults about Dr. Breggin and his exposure of Dr. Healy’s ETC advocacy remain.

    And as one person noted, that policy mainly seems to apply to Dr. Healy’s blog, which I think is due to obvious reasons. I think those controlling this web site should think very hard about the situational ethics here which amount to no ethics at all in my opinion.

    I won’t waste my time writing any more comments here to try to maintain some moral compass and fairness in what amounts to an unfair one sided “discussion” about the merits or lack thereof of ECT and other harmful psychiatric treatments. Since only mere parroting and applauding of Dr. Healy is allowed here, I will leave such empty cheerleading to others already doing that here and hope would be victims will see through it.

    Ironically, some of the critics of those commenting on ECT here have been very critical of other psychiatrists on this site as well as fellow posters with nary a peep from the moderator. Moreover, such critics here have tried to impose their agenda of SSRI damage and withdrawal or lack of sleep as a cause of psychosis with well meaning psychiatrics almost killing the so called patient on almost every blog with little or no complaint from those they oppressed while rarely missing a chance to attack me. Nice to have them all here on this one blog with their usual one sided goals and tactics.

    Actually, this is a relief since keeping up with the nasty sidetracking attacks to avoid the truth and facts about ECT is getting very tiresome, time consuming and old.

    Report comment

    • Single standard from my view of it. One set of rules for all. Defined, explained and reiterated ad nauseam.

      If you cannot comprehend the rules of engagement, there’s little cause to wonder about your ability to grasp anything else. While racking Dr. Healy and nailing everyone to the post for disagreeing with your own personal differing viewpoint, you have actually achieved your own undoing.

      Report comment

    • Good time to scroll up and read the article posted by the author of this blog! If nothing else, you may breathe a sigh of relief – there is a good reason for the lack luster responses to your ECT comments that are really and truly not about discriminating against you or promoting ECT.

      Your comments are not relevant to the *topic* in this blog. I, for one, would like you to provide FACTS that prove you READ the article- and not just more rationalizations for how you can link ECT to Dr. Healy’s name and photo.

      Report comment

        • Here is the passage- we can read it together:

          David Healy writes:
          “ECT had previously also been linked to suicide. ECT it was said and is still said could mobilize stuperose and suicidal patients so that they were able to carry out their plans before those plans began to fade. The doctors in Cambridge were aware of this “rollback” theory about ECT indirectly leading to suicides. But they said something else was happening on imipramine. It could directly cause suicide by increasing agitation. No one disagreed. ”

          NOTE: Donna shares her take on the how the topic of *ECT* relates to this article:
          Donna writes:>>ECT is included in this article as causing “rollover suicide.”<>ECT is included … as causing “rollover suicide.”<<

          Or, rather WHAT is ROLLOVER SUICIDE???

          I'm on the edge of my seat— IS THIS YOUR PROOF THAT YOU READ THE ARTICLE THAT LATER YOU CLAIM I obviously did NOT read?
          And where in your discussion of ECT did you even mention "rollover suicide"? since this is what you believe was relevant from the article to introduce ECT into the discussion?

          Anyway– I am not trying to be mean here, but I think that it is important to "keep it real".

          Report comment

          • Oh my, I made a slight error in quoting something showing my humanity. What a horrible crime. Your immature reaction to such a human error is very revealing.

            Anyway, here is a very credible citation about an FDA review of ECT that shows that ECT does cause suicides as with the infamous case of Ernest Hemingway regardless of how you label them. The FDA review also claims that other deaths caused by ECT are greatly minimized by ECT proponents. Also, the myth that ECT prevents suicide is exposed along with the many other horrors of ECT like brain damage, memory loss, cognitive dyfunction and lack of efficacy I’ve already included here.

            You are more than entitled to your opinion just as is the good doctor you cite, but as I indicated before, opinions are not the same as facts, which you and the good doctor seem to like to avoid by attacking others rather than reading those facts. Again, I’ve cited many expert opinions, studies and patient experiences of the brain damaging effects of ECT on this blog.


            So, laugh away, but the joke is on you! Again, you might want to check out the expert studies I cited on a previous article here along with a review of Dr. Healy’s book on ECT considered to be totally lacking in facts or credibility before you laugh too hard.

            Report comment

  10. I agree that there is a double standard in moderating comments on this site. If the same civility and relevance criteria applied to Healy’s critics in the above thread were used throughout MIA I’m guessing 50% of all comments on every blog would have to be removed.

    Why the special treatment here? This is not a rhetorical question. I am genuinely curious.

    Report comment

    • My comments were removed for being off-topic (in addition to being charged and heated), as I was focused on “ECT” (like others were) – but the blog’s main entry states: “laying out the philosophical basis for”.

      I’ve checked the website – it’s about prescription drugs and not “ECT” so presumably, the expected conversation here is to reflect that.

      Report comment

      • Since Dr. Healy is a major advocate of ECT, I believe ECT is all too relevant here. Also, Dr. Healy has included comments about ECT in several of his articles here, so they should be fair game for comment just like other topics discussed in his articles.

        I think there are other reasons for this censorship that is very harmful to psychiatric survivors and would be future victims due to Dr. Healy’s seeming image as a reform psychiatrist.

        Report comment

        • I am beginning to wonder what you mean by *reformist psychiatrist*?
          Semantics are important. Your use of this term carries a lot of weight in your argument for broadcasting Dr. Healys’ association with ECT AS a means for casting doubt on his work in his ACTUAL specialty psychopharmacology!

          Who said he IS a ‘REFORMIST psychiatrist”?

          Now, Donna- why don’t you do that Roseanne Roseannadanna thing- and just say:


          Report comment

          • NO, the idea of reform is incidental in that it works to eliminate all brain disabling torture “treatments” along with other fear, force and fraud in mainstream psychiatry.

            But, the idea of objecting to ECT is based on the very same type of evidence that Dr. Healy claims he wants for psych and other drugs. Yet, when the evidence that ECT causes brain damage and other great harm is proven in highly regarded/credible studies, autopsies, patient/doctor experience, books and reports as well as common sense, Dr. Healy and his ECT promoting colleagues ignore and deny all the evidence and use the same ploys of all of mainstream psychiatry to continue a brain damaging barbaric practice while blaming the patients’ so called mental illness, drugs used in the process of ECT and anything but the real offender, ECT. Such total inconsistency regarding the science of drugs versus ECT calls such a practice into serious question for ANY DOCTOR OR MEDICAL EXPERT whether reform, mainstream or whatever label you want to use to remind one and all that doctors are supposed to adhere to the motto of, “FIRST DO NO HARM.”

            So, all the detractors and attackers trying to obfuscate and sidetrack from this very simple premise that is critical in judging ANY AND ALL doctors regardless of any other labels attached to them, are very wrong if they think their bogus propaganda attempts to hide the truth and reality is working except among their own little mob that I believe was planned in advance and carried out by one or more people in sync to attempt to silence and discredit anyone concerned about this critical issue with any underhanded tactic they could dream up.


            Stating evidence about a doctor’s credibility and concistency about his own stated claims and ethics is not an attack on his character. The doctor himself is the one who causes himself to be considered credible or not by his actions and not mere words.

            Report comment

    • I simply don’t have time to review every single comment, and certainly not enough to sit by the computer waiting for them to be posted so that I can vet them as they come in. What happened today is that there were a slew of particularly uncivil and off-topic comments that Bob and I agreed had finally reached the point that we simply couldn’t ignore. We are working on being able to ban posters who repeatedly ignore requests to be civil, etc. Meanwhile, I started to remove some of the really offending comments. Once that starts, it becomes harder and harder to decide about each one; we don’t WANT to remove posts ever; ideally we wouldn’t have to. But once it becomes necessary it becomes arduous to figure out which; many have lots of great content, but maybe a sentence or two that it would be wrong to leave while taking others down. So what to do? It almost seems I would have to take down ALL the comments in this thread, which I can’t bring myself to do.
      What I have tried to do today has not worked. But we put up a notice that we would remove uncivil, off-topic comments, and I’m getting requests from other readers to enforce this notice and I feel I must. This, or course, invites repeated angry posts from the offenders, all of which cheapens the experience of people who would like to come to the website for a source of substantive and useful dialogue and information rather than interpersonal jousting and character assassination.
      I have focused on Dr. Healy’s blog for the moment, because at least other bloggers are in fact responding personally and seem to take care of themselves. There doesn’t seem to be any legally actionable posting going on. But the question of Dr. Healy’s blog is a tough one: ECT is a perfectly legitimate target for debate, criticism, inquiry, etc. I am sure this will happen on this website. I am sure there are ways in which discussing it in the context of the larger conversation about medical/nonmedical thinking and “treatment” is important and legitimate. But on this thread it has grown to the point of displacing all other conversation, and in fact driving away interested readers and posters.
      So, you can’t please everyone; but if I have to choose between pleasing noisy people vs. people whose voices are valuable and would not be heard above the fray, at the end of the day I feel moved to make sure this space is safe for those who are relatively quiet and might not find an equally welcoming place. I am interested in making a space for the quiet people; the noisier ones will always find someplace to be heard.

      Report comment

      • Kermit, Please feel free to remove any of my comments here that you have a problem with. It appears the goal here is to silence anyone from commenting on the fact that Dr. Healy is an ECT advocate by some seemingly powerful posters here with personal agendas. It appears they have succeeded given your comments here, which I think is very dangerous.

        Report comment

        • I am genuinely sorry you feel that this is a power struggle or some nefarious agenda. I, for one, have absolutely no personal investment in anyone’s choice of treatment, or refusal of treatment or the banning of any treatments. I, like many others, am not shopping for a group to join, or a banner to wave, but am interested in the viewpoints and ideas of those who are processing vast amounts of potentially harmful information with a sense of dedication to creating value in the present moment. We are a diverse gathering of serious minded people who are trying to learn how to effect change and what aspect of that change is within our power to effect.

          I believe it is incorrect to assume that this is a site devoted to the creation of a coalition, a task force or a narrowly defined reformed movement. There is absolutely no indication of an underlying purpose to unite all participants under one umbrella called, psychiatry reformers.
          Glen Beck without the sound and the black board- entertaining for a very brief time- not the place to go if you want to form your own opinions or share an opposing viewpoint.

          Report comment

        • I do not WISH to silence anyone, and certainly not any one perspective. In looking back over the thread this morning, I see there are lots of comments remaining that examine all the issues mentioned from various perspectives. On reflection, I think that the question that guided my decision to remove any specific post wasn’t its content per se; it was: “does this comment lead me to feel that I could contribute constructively to a conversation here, or does it leave me feeling like tuning out, turning away, and/or shutting up?”
          In short, I removed posts that left me feeling that they had the effect of censoring others. So, to the extent that I succeeded, I hope it was to have the net effect of REDUCING censorship.
          I acknowledge that, in trying to find a balance point between all considerations, the teeter will totter and occasionally be imprecise, perhaps arbitrary, unfortunately unfair. I did leave comments that, though they were not specifically germane to the blog’s content, nevertheless felt that they contributed momentum toward a rich discussion. So, mea culpa on being inconsistent; I just felt that more net dialogue, as long as it’s civil, is good. So, yes, on balance positive comments do feel like they add momentum more often than negative ones. This does not mean that negative comments are not vital, important, appropriate, essential, and wanted. But we are seeking to foster a culture that draws people to participate, rather than further silences them. I hope that a rising tide of constructive dialogue may someday wash away my awkward efforts.
          I think censorship can be effectively accomplished by any participant in a discussion; not just those “in power,” however powerless they may in actuality be.

          Report comment

          • On further reflection, this goal of weeding out things that have the effect of silencing others is in some way consistent with the core mission and content of this project. Open Dialogue, of course, demonstrates that when communication is furthered the experience and perception of what is called “psychosis” goes away. My experience in clinical practice has been that the surest way for the outcomes I hope for to occur has been simply to keep the conversation going, not necessarily with an explicit intent or content. Even psychiatrists who seemed diametrically opposed to my way of thinking very often came around, often without the need to acknowledge any shift in position because our positions did in fact converge on a fuller, more whole-person awareness (of everybody involved).
            So, again; when posts have felt like the chilled me and would chill others, and result in less dialogue rather than more, I pulled them. This is the intent we are striving for in our posting guidelines, not the promotion of one perspective over another. I have been quite sympathetic to the content of many posts I pulled, but I was aware that they were having the effect of driving away more people and more content than they were contributing. It does seem that we have a responsibility to keep the space clean in that way.
            I think that things will change when we have forums, and a place to initiate and sustain many more content threads, and a place to direct discussions that risk overriding those that might arise directly from specific blog posts.

            Report comment

          • Kermit,

            I would suggest that you remove the name of the persons when you remove any comment since some people might feel “exposed” as the author of one or several “unwelcome comments” in an unfair way since the comment has disappered.

            Report comment

          • Kermit Why are all your off topic posts left up? They chill me. Who are you and who is funding this board?

            Why are you calling people mad?

            Are you mad?

            Do you know people are mad because they “chill” you or just because they fit the stereotype you are pushing with your public relations campaign? Where are the voices of people who don’t want to be labelled by you?

            Report comment

      • “This, or course, invites repeated angry posts from the offenders, all of which cheapens the experience of people who would like to come to the website for a source of substantive and useful dialogue and information rather than interpersonal jousting and character assassination.”

        In rightful defense of myself, each of my subsequent comments that had been removed were altered content.

        Again, I had been focusing on “ECT” and it was deemed to be off-topic, yet so much of the conversation is about exactly that – “ECT” and not “the philosophical basis of”. At that point, I recognized that a Ivana Fulli MD is the one who is mostly engaged in the conversation of ECT and of course, MIA isn’t going to censor or correct her.

        In all of my removed comments, I said nothing whatsoever about Dr. Healy himself – or anyone. I am not a person who engages character assassination on individual, specific people. Just isn’t my style.

        I admit my comments were charged and packed some heat, but I supported that by stating that “ECT” is highly controversial, provided a link which highlights the same and provided additional links to successful laws to ban & prohibit the practice – all of which would certainly be relevant, if Dr. Healy is an advocate of the practice – which he is.

        “philosophical basis of” isn’t my interest; “ECT” is.

        I’m out. Peace.

        Report comment

        • censorship based on “chilling” experienced by censor?

          Sounds like a plan for total control without accountability.

          Somebody tell me who is paying for this PLEASE

          I’m feeling chilled with a touch of the vapors

          this is an insult to all of us

          Report comment

          • >>Sounds like a plan for total control without accountability..<<

            Yes indeed! and duly noted to be the agenda of the REFORMERS on this blog, who rationalize their ECT take over maneuvers as a benevolent public service.

            Let's see.. YOU want TOTAL control of the content of the discussion here without ACCOUNTABILITY for the policies established by the moderator.

            I think you have gone way past insult- all the way to injury!

            Report comment

        • Every person is valuable. Every person deserves to be fully respected. WE can employ the same degree of intellectual inquiry and the same level of technical competence used to navigate this webzine in each and every instance requiring us to make a personal decision- form a personal opinion. Noisy people shouting warnings here evoke images of a total miscalculation of the calibre of the audience and the work of the writers who blog here.

          Maybe if you thought about the inferences you are making when you defend the town cryers.-Who are, in effect, prefacing each comment with :”Listen up, you fools!”- Maybe if you thought about how this devalues some of the equally deserving of respect people here…

          Report comment

          • Sinead,

            While you have focused only on your single minded attacks on anyone who does not share your exact views, you have failed to notice all the people YOU have driven away from this blog and web site in general while falsely accusing me of doing so.

            And as I said above, it is obvious that you didn’t read the article here yourself since it includes a comment about rollover suicide caused by ECT, one of its many hazards. I applaud Dr. Healy for including that information here.

            So, just one of your many false accusations to attack and demonize others and especially me only to prove that you are only projecting your own behavior and ignorance on others.

            And by the way, given that you said I lack education and ability to debate the great psychiatrists here, I will match my credentials to yours any day of the week! And if you check out the book, PSEUDOSCIENCE IN PSYCHIATRY, as Dr. Colin Ross and the reviewer say, just reading the review of this great book makes one more informed than most psychiatrists with their bogus, sole focus on prescription writing and DSM stigmas based on drug company hype in their so called education!

            Report comment

    • Sonia,

      May be partly, because-as kermit explained- Dr Healy do not read that MIA “repetition of his blog” and answers only his original blog when other bloggers on MIA can answer to their commentators.

      Thank you for your kindness and understanding Sonia. I do not feeel at all your questions being rhétorical and ironic.

      I wish you all the best for the future and would not think recovery is out of question since our brain and soul are fantastic and rich in platicity (estrogens and exercice if no physical serious motive to abstain from it plus a good diet and control of the blood pressure can do a lot for the memory).

      PS: If I were you I would send my signed book to Dr Healy’s professional adress and this will be my last comment on that blog since as a foreigner having never worked in the USA, I feel like an aspie ignoring so much of what is going socially in her own country.

      Plus a psychiatrist living in France can do only psychotherapy or psychonalysis in private practice with client getting their money back -up to a point- from our social security when a private practice psychologist will not see the social security paid for the psychotherapy. As everything it has good and bad consequences and explain that psychoanalysis is still pregnant in France among psychiatrists’ practice since the clients do not pay for it.

      It is a shock for a French psychiatrist to be considered a pill prescriber only as a matter of fact!

      Thank for the cultural experience and I will continue to read some blogs on MIA.

      Report comment

  11. To: rhizome- my reply to your posted critique of my comments:

    rhizome writes:>paradocs writes: “For those who work from an *agenda* we waste our breath telling a ECT success story”

    THE REST OF THE SENTENCE: >, that can be as confounding as the case of the mildly anxious young adult who hangs himself in the throws of a side effect from an SSRI, known to us as, akathisia!

    MY *point* is that when one is in the process of discovery- the agenda IS the information to be gathered. The ECT success story IS confounding- as are the other scenario I included. IF you have established a FIRM belief that ECT has no value and only harmful effects, then it is not likely you will pursue a course of inquiry upon hearing of someone’s – anyone’s claim to have benefitted from ECT.-Likewise, it continually shocks many within the field of psychiatry and in the general public that SSRIs can induce a state of *being* that precipitates violence toward self and others.

    rhizome continues:

    <<A moment’s reflection would show how these same nonsensical attacks could be turned against Dr. Healy’s fine critiques of SSRIs etc. : so, for example, defenders of SSRIs could accuse Dr. Healy and paradocs of working from an agenda that leads them to ignore SSRI “success stories.” Or one could describe Dr. Healy as positioning himself as a “watchdog” who polices correct opinion about SSRIs. Neither of these rhetorical moves would be fair to Dr. Healy, as they would fail to address the substance of his critiques. It is truly sad, then, that paradocs seeks to squash any serious discussion of ECT by the type of cheap rhetorical gambits that pharma’s defenders can and have used against Dr. Healy himself – <

    Report comment

    • I think the term *watch dog* applies – or *squashing* of discussion applies to those who see author, David Healy’s name & photo as a red flag- a threat of some kind that warrants the evacuation of any consideration for the words printed BEFORE the
      “Leave a Reply” box appears…

      Maybe responding correctly to a *test question* could be the ticket for posting a comment!

      Report comment

    • Dr Healy took care of writing that he still prescribe the drugs he wants to document the side-effects;

      It wil be difficult to accuse him of:///defenders of SSRIs could accuse Dr. Healy and paradocs of working from an agenda that leads them to ignore SSRI “success stories.”///

      But for your: /// Or one could describe Dr. Healy as positioning himself as a “watchdog” who polices correct opinion about SSRIs. /// in a way it seems to me to be a well desserved praise although strong in the wording.

      Report comment

  12. Thanks for your well-thought comment (as usual). I agree RCTs are not a panacea (but all past alternatives were worse). I hope other ways to conduct psychological/psychiatric research will allow faster progress, and is powerful addition, the internet might allow new innovative ways to collect data in a much more systematic way in regular psychiatrist practice. The STAR-* trials might also start a new innovative way to collect data (it seems most of the STAR-* controversies are on how to interpret the data, and how more useful data could have been collected, rather than about the collected data reliability by itself).

    RCTs are still very important anyway. To me, the most revealing thing about Irving Kirsch controversy was that many prominent psychiatrists (for instance Kramer in his NYTimes article) said: “if RCTs don’t show antidepressants as effective, then the RCTs are flawed because we just know antidepressants work”. That’s when I learned a lot of psychiatrists don’t understand the basic difference between astrology and science: in science, when reality clashes with your intuition/knowledge, you have to revisit your intuition/knowledge, not deny reality.

    I agree with Dr. Healy that the reliance on RCTs is leaving many blind spots, but the burden on proof is on him to explain why some observations are “more than anecdotal experience”, and why the FDA should have acted before conclusive data was available. And I am glad he tries to do that with, but we cannot prejudge the result. Clinical experience is important to choose what quantitative research to do, but cannot replace such research.

    Report comment

    • Thanks, Stanley. I believe Dr. Healy has explained elsewhere (maybe on itself) that studies show somewhere around 80% of anecdotal reports of adverse events are substantive.

      How RCTs and “anecdotal” information are complementary is discussed in the article above and in comments on

      The fact is that without government funding specifically to study post-marketing adverse events, any information about adverse events MUST be “anecdotal” — i.e. reports from individuals or doctors. Pharma isn’t going to pay for such studies.

      Many governments have post-marketing adverse event tracking systems, but they are not coordinated and data mining is poor.

      For example, the US FDA has a huge multi-year collection of adverse event reports (AERS) and to this day still does not have a way to analyze that database.

      AERS would be completely useless, except that recently a for-profit company developed some tools for that analysis.

      Read Adverse Events: Did a Scrappy Little Start-Up Just Embarrass the FDA? is similar; it also initially analyzes the FDA database but makes results more freely available. (Robert Whitaker is among the founders.)

      Report comment

      • Thanks, Altostrata- I would add from reading Pharmageddon, that it is hardly a secret that the lack of investigation into risks and side effects pre-marketing is agenda motivated. The goal being to get the drugs on the market and to down play or actually hide adverse- effects data, while trumping up some proof of efficacy. I know you are aware of this. It is very troubling that this egregious lack of thorough investigation has not incited doctors to either reprimand pharmaceutical co’s and the FDA OR , maybe the real priority- protect their patients- via educating them and being more proactive in monitoring them. by Prescription only drugs- the big money drugs, need a doctor’s participation in order for the pharmaceutical co. to make a profit. I have wondered why doctor’s don’t just rebel and refuse to be the middle men in this scourge against human beings and the practice of medicine itself.

        The failure to adequately track adverse effects and respond appropriately to earlier episodes of bells and whistles—just another black mark on the practice of medicine.

        Shouldn’t we also include here in this discussion the renaming of a toxic side effect of SSRIs- “an agent that unmasked bipolar disorder”? This is not a matter of clinging to intuition over reality- This is evidence of the absence of a working knowledge of the medical model itself. No concept of the process of ruling out causative factors BEFORE making a diagnosis- one variable at a time. Taking creative license to alter known side effects- eg, manic episode, psychotic episode, turning them into the emergence of symptoms of a life long severe mental disorder. This seems to indicate a disconnect on the part of psychiatrists with REAL medicine- as it is practiced via the scientific method. THIS is a a red flag that is hardly ever thrown on the table as exhibit A- proof that psychiatrists aren’t well educated or trained in the scientific method and are therefore grossly incompetent in the practice of biomedicine. Natural consequence-

        I may be just overly enraged by these well established facts- but, it does seem to me that RCTs are smoke and mirrors for marketing dangerous drugs to spell bound doctors who may not even relate a patient’s complaint to a documented risk or side effect of a drug.

        I don’t want to attack the doctors- they seem to be suffering from a worse malady than their patients already- BUT I am determined to work to protect patients from life long disabilities, agonizing personal losses and wrongful death.

        As for the psychiatrists who insist that they know antidepressants work- that there isn’t a placebo effect happening right before their eyes… Well, I think it might be wise to- just- consider the source!

        Report comment

  13. From what I can see, given the excessive burden on Kermit, there are several ways this might go:

    1. Most likely: Posters who persist in repeatedly posting off-topic on David Healy’s MiA blog will drive away others who want to discuss the topic.

    2. David Healy’s blog topics on MiA will be closed to comments.

    (In case of 1 or 2, I suggest those who want to discuss Healy’s posts go to and comment there.)

    3. Least likely: MiA will stop re-publishing David Healy’s blog.

    In any of these scenarios, absolutely nothing will be accomplished in changing Healy’s mind about ECT, reducing the use of ECT, or convincing new supporters opposed to ECT.

    Conversation on MiA, however, will be impoverished and the site’s reputation tarnished.

    Report comment

    • Altostrata,

      I disagree with you in that the people attacking those who want to discuss the ECT parts of Dr. Healy’s articles and/or views to silence/censor them and drive them away are doing what they are accusing their victims of doing. Some people at this web site have been harmed by ECT while you claim you have been harmed by SSRI’s. Why should those who have been harmed or might be harmed by ECT in the future be denied a voice, true informed consent or even some acknowledgement and compassion from an advocate for ECT treatment like Dr. Healy and you and your supporters? You certainly don’t tolerate such treatment regarding suffering caused by SSRI damage and withdrawal problems and everyone is very sympathetic and tolerant when you repeatedly bring up your issues with SSRI’S on every blog.

      Ironically, when Dr. Healy first started posting here, nobody was commenting on his articles here, which I have been reading from the start since I have been following Dr. Healy long before this in his books, etc. As you say, those who wish to comment mainly do so on Dr. Healy’s web site where he responds to the comments. Therefore, it appears that those people commenting at both places recently have a different agenda for each location, which I think is all too clear given the above.

      It is true that we all have a different view of who would be the ideal psychiatrist/”mental health” expert. But, this web site was started by Robert Whitaker after he wrote MAD IN AMERICA and ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC that condemned the many abusive practices of psychiatry since its inception including ECT with a call for change and reform. Therefore, many in the “reform” movement were attracted to this web site because Bob Whitaker has been a major voice in the REFORM movement for many years with Dr. Loren Mosher, Dr. Peter Breggin, David Oaks and many others.

      Therefore, many here believe that a psychiatrist’s overall views about emotional distress, trauma and/or life crises falsely stigmatized as “mental illness” and their beliefs about appropriate treatments are critical as to whether one wishes to support or be affiliated with such an individual and all or part of their beliefs about treatment. At the very least, everyone deserves total informed consent about both psychiatrists and their recommended treatments as well as their specific treatments whether they are drugs, ECT, lobotomy, insulin shock, dialogical therapy, Soteria type treatment, WRAP, holistic medicine as promoted by Safe Harbor, etc.

      I also think it is very unfortunate that those attacking people concerned about ECT refuse to look at or consider the studies and science on ECT, some of which I cited here, which is highly inconsistent with their stated views about drugs.

      I find it odd that you are the second one to threaten closing down this blog site. Do you really have such power here? If so, is that appropriate or fair to others just because they don’t agree with you or share your particular affliction, but rather, a different one like ECT or neuroleptic harm not to mention bipolar and other fad stigmas? It certainly is very successful in shutting down any fairness or equality in this or any discussion here especially when coments made by those concerned about ECT are censored/eliminated while the attacking responses remain. If those attacks included any actual science or facts rather than insults to the person posting especially one actually harmed by ECT, perhaps we could learn something rather than the current divide and conquer approach.

      Isn’t it ironic that merely stating the truth that Dr. Healy is an advocate for ECT based on his own book and some articles he has posted is claimed to be an attack on him by you and others here who mainly want to restrict the discussion to the narrow one of SSRI’S? What about neuroleptic drugs? Will those be included in Dr. Healy’s discussion especially now that they are being advertised and prescribed for depression per the many Abilify commercials and ads? I certainly would like to hear more from Dr. Healy on this debacle. I thought he did a great job exposing some of the useless drugs for so called bipolar he exposed as a BIG PHARMA induced fad in his excellent book, MANIA.

      I am writing this post to honestly state my views and feelings and not to start another war. The GOLDEN RULE would be a great guideline in my opinion.

      Report comment

        • Alostrata,

          You are entitled to your own views about what you want to read or believe as is true for others, but you don’t seem to acknowledge that others should have the same rights as you and your like minded posters.

          I am not going to debate with you as to whether anyone would prefer to read my posts or yours because it is a rather silly competition.

          As I said, many have been harmed by psychiatry in many ways including every conceivable brain/body damaging treatment including all kinds of psych drugs, ECT, forced commitment and loss of human rights. Mindfreedom has a place for everyone, but you insist on restricting all discussion here to SSRI’s that are only relevant to your affliction shared with certain other people. ECT has been included in many articles on this blog and you commented about it on Dr. Healy’s site with others. Why must other people harmed by or at risk for other treatments like ECT be attacked, bullied, censored or shut out to maintain one narrow focus for only one particular group and affliction? It just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone would enforce such a narrow position.

          I have stated several times on this blog that I have a very high regard for much of Dr. Healy’s work on drugs, exposure of the bipolar fad epidemic due to the related drugs on patent, his contributions to protest the horrific drugging of children and other good work as does Dr. Healy. Based on the science and several recent studies, Dr. Healy’s position on ECT is inconsistent with his fine work with drugs whereby he exposes the dangers of bad science with regard to drugs but not ECT.

          That puts his supporters in a difficult bind because if they are citing his expertise on drugs, they can be blindsided by critics of his position on ECT. That’s why I believe it is better to know about his ECT advocacy so as not to be taken by surprise in any discussion with mainstream psychiatry. But, that’s my opinion and you are entitled to yours.

          You have already stated elsewhere that you deliberately don’t read certain posts since you seem to have a single minded focus on SSRI damage and withdrawal. That’s fine with me, but you are making your unique position into a seemingly global attack on me when it is obviously not the case given the many positive responses to my posts here on ECT and other topics elswhere.

          Again, I find it sad that you insist on taking an us versus them approach to this broader issue that you yourself have condemned on Dr. Moffic’s blog.

          Are you all leaving now that you accomplished your goal of silencing and censoring those with concerns about Dr. Healy’s position on ECT? Perhaps you haven’t noticed that the many people who left in disgust were the very ones you censored and attacked with your fellow critics with them humilated by having their comments removed.

          I sincerely hope you will rethink your position because everyone has much to offer here.

          Report comment

          • Donna,

            I want to thank you for all of your posts throughout this thread. I am taking a break from this site for awhile because I find it emotionally wrenching trying to participate here. But first I want to express my admiration for your ability to tough it out and speak the truth in such a hostile and censorious environment.

            I’ve learned a lot from you. Thank you.


            Report comment

        • Altostrata,

          I just realized I am spinning my wheels again since you apparently didn’t read or consider anything I said in my first comment, so I guess I just wasted my time writing a similar comment.

          I guess you have to do what you have to do!

          You said you were all leaving and asked if this is what I want. I’d say that’s a rhetorical question, so I won’t bother saying any more than I’ve said already. After all, you said you won’t read my posts anyway, right?

          Report comment

          • Sonia,

            I agree that participating here has been wrenching and exhausting, so I don’t blame you for wanting to take a break. I appreciate all of your support and bravery in sharing your story of another negative experience with ECT. I have learned a great deal from you and you validated my concerns about lack of informed consent about ECT on this blog. I thank you for that too.

            I hope you will look into holistic methods of increased brain/body health that all of can use as opposed to our many bad habits of junk food, lack of exercise and others. I think that this would help you feel better and gain more confidence.

            Thank you for hanging in there as well.

            Report comment

      • YO! Donna- you have let us in on the not so well kept secret that you don’t even know how ECT was referred to in this article and actually, in your hurry to appear to be playing by the rules you missed that it was mentioned as having been indirectly associated with suicide, as compared to Imipramine which induced an agitated state that CAUSED suicide- NOW! in your big show of how carefully you are reading the article before doing what we all know you are up to- and don’t worry it isn’t gonna come off my keyboard again- cause you already just put out something so much more to the point- and in my mind you will be the one who gave us the warning as *breaking news* that ECT was included in this blog article as CAUSING ROLLOVER SUICIDE- Now we all have something to be really scared of!!
        IF and WHEN we find out what the heckl it is.

        Now I wish I had time to go back and find that post where you are going on and on bragging about your credentials and accusing the WRONG person of saying you are in need of some serious education- The doctor said that, Donna- and I really think she (Ivana F.) was trying to be kind to you and help you stop making a fool of yourself. Well at least you aren’t discriminating in the making someone out to be a fool category as you’re doing it to yourself almost as much as you try to do it to others. Kudos for that., .But a rotten tomato launched in your general direction from my virtual world where no one gets censored is what I think you should get for the rest of your shenanigans. and here I go off to tend to my business which now includes staying out of yours.

        Peace out 😉

        Report comment

        • My, what a horror. I made a human error in quoting the article. What a crime. Fiona believes this entitles her to denigrate and humilate me to show her superiority over me while implying I am an idiot. How mature and civil too. Too bad you didn’t read all I wrote because I already admitted to my imperfect humanity when under constant attack for every minute thing by the good doctor you applaud in her attempt to discredit me rather than read the excellent ECT studies and articles I cited on this blog. So, she can reserve her pity for me that you mention for herself and you. I also said that when something is not in my area of expertise I seek out the best experts and cite them because I do have a background in research.

          Anyway, here is an article about an FDA review of ECT. Here they indicate that ECT does cause many suicides. Other related ECT deaths are greatly minimized by ECT promoters according to this review also. They point out the myth that ECT prevents suicide while revealing that it lacks efficacy as well. The brain damage, memory loss, cognitive defects and other negative effects of ECT I have cited before from many experts and ECT studies as well as patient input are also covered in this review.

          Despite my error in quoting it, my major point was that ECT is mentioned in the above post by Dr. Healy and has also been included in other articles by him on this blog.

          This was merely in response to those falsely claiming that ECT was off the topic of this blog, so you missed the whole point I was making. I was also accused of not reading the article by someone purporting to be a mind reader here when she herself had obviously not read the article.

          And before you laugh too loud, you might want to check out the review I cited on another post about Dr. Healy’s book on ECT.

          Report comment

          • Fiona, Here is a link to a review of the great book, PSEUDOSICENCE IN BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY. Since psychiatry lacks scientific and medical credibility, I won’t get too worried if I misquote a word or two of its junk science that you were so kind to point out. So much for the good doctor you cite and her attacks on me and my so called ignorance. The fact that she advocates ECT is all that I need to know.


            Report comment

          • You did not READ the article and your one comment to PROVE you did was not just a misquote, it was a JOKE and the laugh is on YOU!
            This is how little respect you have for this blog, which is clearly only your big chance to get on your soap box.

            In this article, ECT is compared to Imipramine for the purpose of demonstrating the flaws in the way in which adverse effects- even fatal ones, like suicide have reflected a problem in the analysis of hard scientific evidence. the referencce is from the *thinking* of doctors in Cambridge, England 1959!!! .With THAY in mind-we find that with Imipramine the link to suicide was direct, In the case of ECT it was *indirect*. NOW how did doctors deal with such facts back in 1959?? They ignored the risk of Impiramine- why? well, suicide is linked to depression- part of the disease sequelae- potentially, so why bother over worrying that a drug may actually cause this event?

            Yet you want to make ECT the big topic, whereas it comes in second in this article as the foucs for concern about the *thinking* of doctors with regard to scientific data and its relevance. IN THIS ARTICLE it is mentioned for comparison- NOT AS THE TOPIC itself!

            And though the article is damning of the evidence of harm-known and unknown linked to antidepressants- the author does have concerns about other categories of psychotropic drugs AND—

            YET, this author is not propagating BANNING the use of psychotropic drugs. Either is the host of this webzine, Robert Whitaker and believe it or not those who want to BAN whatever CAN cause harm are the small majority. the greater majority is working toward grounding the practice of medicine, including psychiatry in both REAL scientific evidence and focusing BACK on caring about the FACT that often times NOT rushing to TREAT with drugs, or surgery, or even ECT is the wise choice- as was the practice of Dr. Pinel- Quote from Pharamgeddon, D. Healy,2012

            page. 10 : “”….Phlippe Pinel, a doctor looking after the mentally ill in Paris in the midst of the french Revolution: [quote] “It is an art of no little importance to administer medicines properly…but it is an art of much greater and more difficult acquisition to know when to suspend or altogether omit them.”

            The history that has brought us to where we are culturally and philosophically regarding medical care is described in Pharmageddon. For those who seek understanding and ways to work within the *system* or even with patients outside of the system, there is so much to be learned form Dr. Healy’s work.

            By not reading the article here, or following the content of Dr. Healy’s work and the significance of it, you continually make remarks that show you have your own take on what he is doing about “psychiatric drugs/treatment”. YOU CLEARLY DO NOT. And even though Dr. Breggin uses Dr. Healy’s research to support his agenda to BAN psych drugs and BAN ECT-HE, too, appears clueless as to the focus of and the crucial importance of the work Dr. Healy IS DOING!

            I know where your reasoning is off because I do read your posts- I don’t believe in censorship- there would be no way to see where you are trying to go here if your posts were all deleted *according to guidelines*

            You are as radical in your REFORM thinking as Dr. Breggin. I doubt that he would blog here because he likes to be center stage-IN CONTROL and leading the charge. That movement will go on. no doubt, but there are many others who view the problems and the means for solution differently.

            It is precisely the radical approach you employ here that shows a lack of respect for *others* – and I have to say, that is a trait you do share with the good doctor Breggin.

            What is reported about the *drugs* points to an agenda to market them, with no real concern about how effective they actually are , or WORSE the harm they are now known to cause. You and Breggin see this as another weapon to use for BANNING them- and obviously hoped that anyone who is trying to get a handle on what is going wrong in psychiatry would join your crusade.

            NOT HAPPENING, DONNA- but you have the freedom to keep trying to enlist others to your cause. 🙂

            Report comment

    • Thank you for setting me straight again about the pseudoscience of psychiatry forced on people by psychiatry in bed with BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS to destroy countless lives from the cradle to the grave for power, status and profit to pretend they are real medical doctors. I would hate to look ignorant by misunderstanding psychiatry’s latest lies, but it is hard to keep up with them since chemical imbalances suddenly change into genetic or epigenetic brain deffects and on and on. It’s a wonder any of you get any sleep having to constantly come up with new lies once people catch on to the existing lies. Is it still “science” that ECT destroys the bad brain cells causing “mental illness” while leaving the good ones intact accounting for losing just part of one’s brain and memory? Wasn’t it Dr. Healy who said that people put way too much importance on memory anyway in his ECT book? I should have known you are a member of the mental death profession!

      The good doc said she could be sued for malpractice for not giving ECT. That says it all about increasing fascism with psychiatry acting on behalf of such police states as the SS to silence, discredit, torture and destroy anyone who dares challenge them as with Soviet Russia. The nastiness, cruelty and viciousness here with no facts or substance is a sight to behold since you and your cohorts descended on this blog to “defend” Dr. Healy. As I said above, you have succeeded in doing the opposite.

      I will leave you wonderful people to yourselves to enjoy your sadistic schemes for the rest of humanity now that you’ve driven everyone else away. Don’t bother writing any more pseudoscience dissertations on my behalf since I won’t be back to read them. I didn’t bother reading your latest ones after a glance since I’m all too familiar with psychiatry’s junk science per a citation I just added.

      You can cite all this great evidence based medicine by Dr. Healy, but all of you could have God present you the evidence that you are destroying people with bogus invented stigmas and barbaric tortures like ECT and psych drugs and you would still deny it for fun and profit, so you could continue your crimes against humanity.

      You are so right that I totally respect and admire Dr. Breggin and like minded doctors who respect the dignity and human rights of everyone. Yes, we acknowledge our fallible humanity, something that narcissists/psychopaths are unable to do as intraspecies predators incapable of empathy, compassion, remorse or any bonding with the rest of humanity.

      Enjoy this blog you’ve all hijacked for your mutual admiration society to debate pseudoscience to justify targeting and destroying other people. You can feel very proud of your great contributions to the cause of things like shocking elderly women to living or actual death. I highly recommend the book, WOMAN’S INHUMANITY TO WOMAN, by Dr. Phyllis Chesler, but I suppose that too would fall on deaf ears.

      Have a nice day! I won’t waste my time posting or reading here any more! You “won.”

      Report comment

      • I’ve read a great many of the books and articles you have referenced along with other women from different professions in women’s health and the mental health field. We had many amazingly deep discussions and a few wild debates as well. We all became comfortable enough with each other to disagree and to share deeply personal stuff. In that setting it was clear that each of us could have a different understanding or glean a different meaning from the exact same words. Not so astounding, I know. Perfectly natural that when we read a book we are having a personal experience with the writing and with the writer. When we talked about our personal experience we were sharing something unique about ourselves. And when we listened to each other we learned something more about the book, the writer and ultimately ourselves.

        I was surprised to read the comments here because I only recently discovered David Healy’s books. I read Pharmageddon first, so I am somewhat biased toward him due to his command of the problems in the health care field. In my book discussion group we have gone off on many tangents that led to ideas that grew into plans of action. I learned about this web site and expected to get a leg up so to speak, and be able to bring more to the table for discussion.

        I am leaving a comment here, after talking to the members of my book discussion group. I want to leave something for anyone who reads all of this to ponder. I did a little research of my own. I called the other 8 women who are discussing this book (Pharmageddon) in our group and told them about the debate I had just read here. I asked for feedback about what was presented here as important to know about Dr. Healy. Does it matter to you that Dr. Healy has written about the benefits of ECT, offers it to patients , etc.? Not one of these women, who have read David Healy’s latest book and are actively discussing it found cause to question their opinion of this writer or believed that there is any reason to bring these issues into our discussion.

        Here is a direct quote from one member of the group I polled today:”This sounds like politics to me. I don’t want any part of it.”

        Since each of us in this group has had our turn being vilified for trying to enlighten our professional colleagues, we aren’t squeamish or easily intimidated. We stick together and support each other. Maybe that isn’t a realistic expectation for internet discussion groups. However, when commenting on a blog it is reasonable to expect the discussion and the disagreements alike to be about the content in the blog. Only a small percentage of the comments here fulfill that reasonable expectation.

        Report comment

        • For all I know, one person could be posting under several names or a like minded group with a single purpose could all post with the same opinion. Also, you say that your group consists of health and mental health experts if I understood correctly. Same thing for any credentials claimed here; there is no proof, but you and your friends would be inclined to support all of Dr. Healy’s views if part of the so called mental health system.

          You certainly are entitled to your opinion. If you actually read my posts, my objection was about a narrow minded view about the topic here since Dr. Healy does work on drugs and promotes ECT that he has included in his articles. Since it is mainly women who are preyed on with such brain damaging psychiatric treatments, I find it critical as a woman to research any such treatments including those in general medicine like the deadly statins handed out like candy that only do harm for most people.

          You are absolutely right that this is about politics. One of the greatest criticisms of the DSM or bible of psychiatry is that it is political rather than scientific or medical. It reflects the same sexist, racist and other discriminatory ideas of those in power to stigmatize those who challenge and annoy those in power and punish them with torture treatments like psych drugs, ECT, involuntary treatment, etc. for social control in the guise of medicine. See PSEUDOSCIENCE IN BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY link above for similar absurdities in psychiatry that are only political. Another example of its political bias is that homosexuality was voted into one edition of the DSM and voted out of another due to public protest. Same with drapetomania, a “mental illness” that used to stigmatize runaway slaves with the “mania” of wanting freedom, also discarded as times changed.

          I could go on about other political aspects of psychiatry like the fact it sold out to BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS when it created the bogus DSM with all of its fraudulent “mental illnesses” by committee vote of the white old boy network in power rather than science. See Dr. Paula Caplan for the fraud of the DSM and the outrageous sexism it involved in THEY SAY YOU’RE CRAZY and her other great books and web sites.

          I used to be a naive trusting fool who believed our government, doctors, legal system and others were there to help us, but learned very quickly that the opposite was true when push came to shove. Dr. Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist, is very enlightening about the dangers waiting for those who remain naive about our social institutions. So, I prefer to do my own homework now and trust myself as Bob Dylan would say. But, if you have insider knowledge or prefer to remain ignorant of the truth of the many landmines out there to explode in women’s faces as they go through life, far be it from me to tell you you should do otherwise. But, I don’t think you have the right to make that decision for me and other women based on your claims here.

          Anyway, it sounds to me that you are just another censor to silence anyone who wishes to have an open discussion here as I explained above. Those wanting to expand the discussion to include Dr. Healy’s advocacy of ECT and other issues beyond the narrow one of SSRI’s as relevant to Bob Whitaker’s psychiatric reform that brought most of us here have not attacked, demonized, bullied, silenced, reported or censored anyone wishing to discuss the drugs as they have done to us.

          But, you are entitled to your own opinion as long as you don’t rob others of their rights to have an opinion as has been the case regarding this current article. I suspect that the mob that attacked everyone here did not appear all at once by accident or coincidence.

          Have a nice night.

          Report comment

          • Here is a great article about ECT that you and your friends might wish to ponder considering it is mainly perpetrated against women, especially the elderly most at risk for harm and death from this barbaric practice. Those older women who are covered by Medicare for this expensive but dangerous procedure at age 65 are at the greatest risk. Dr. Healy denies that ECT causes the brain damage and related harm that so many experts and patients have exposed in studies I’ve cited on this blog, books like DOCTORS OF DECEPTION, personal experience, autopsies and even common sense. This does make me question if he tends to treat drugs and other treatments he prescribes in the same way as ECT. For this reason, Dr. Healy’s overall views and practices as a psychiatrist are very important on this web site especially since it has attracted many vulnerable people who have already been harmed by psychiatry’s many harmful treatments including ECT exposed by Bob Whitaker in his books, articles, blogs and talks.


            Report comment

          • I am part of a group reading and discussing Pharmageddon. We are all in the health care field. I can’t say we are experts, but I do think we are doing our professional development requirement via more substantial efforts than the CEU courses require of us. I am one of 5 in the mental health field. We are colleagues working in various agencies that network to provide support for non-traditional families, adoptive families and the foster care system. Long story short, we started this book discussion group 2 years ago. Two nurses, a physician and a therapist who work in Women;’s health joined us soon after we started doing this. Our connection with them was through our clients, or I should say we were already in contact through consultations and family systems meetings. Starting this group has been a sanity saver for all of us. I shared just a brief snapshot version of who we are on my first comment. I wanted to be assertive, but not confrontational about my expectations. I was both referred to this website and encouraged to comment by the same dear friend who lent me her copy of Pharmageddon.

            I want to respond to your reply to me to ease your mind,if I can. The reading I did before phone calls etc. made me a bit nervous about writing my thoughts. Honestly, I anticipated feeling less than competent to discuss David Healy’s article because statistical medical data is not my forte. I though I’d get a better handle on interpreting it or translating it, by reading the comments. I’ve done tons of processing what I read, but can’t say I really have a handle on it either!

            I understand many of the points you brought out in several comments with just a fraction of your knowledge and experience. I’d say I have a very basic or general idea of the extent to which the whole health care system is more damaging than it is helpful or healthy itself. However, I always have to funnel the information into something that produces a positive result in my work with children and families. My co-workers are invaluable. We have many goals as individuals, but are united about the problem of medications. This is our major focus and immediate concern. It is also the area where all but the physician in our group are almost completely powerless.

            So, to keep this from becoming a novel, I just want to say that I appreciate your reply. I can’t address the issues you raise, though I promise you they will be on my mind. I hope and pray that I am part of the solution, but mostly that I am helping to prevent worse case scenarios for those I am fortunate enough to meet in my practice.

            Report comment

    • Sinead, Once again, you, like your cohorts have attempted to twist and misrepresent what I said (as with Dr. Breggin) to try to discredit and attack me. Your saying I didn’t read the article AGAIN is just another form of mind rape typical of you and your cohorts in the mental “health” profession. I understood the idea of suicide discussed regarding antidepressants and ECT in the article regardless if Dr. Healy was trying to imply that the comparison showed ECT to be better than drugs when I know that both are lethal and can cause suicide per my citation of an FDA study here and other sources I’ve read. I admit I had not heard this menace called roll back suicide before and could not find it quickly, so I found the above more credible source, one of many. But, I see nitpicking about the roll back term of suicide is just another sidetracking device to remove the focus from the horror of drug and ECT related suicide, which I call EVIL! Naming things correctly is very critical in my opinion. Ernest Hemingway is one of the more famous examples of ECT causing suicide. Sylvia Plath had ECT and committed suicide too. The fact these two were brilliant writers relying on memory made the ECT brain damage and memory loss all the more horrific for them.

      You claim you read all I wrote, but from what you write you either did not real all I said, forgot it or put your usual twist on all I said to the point it would even be unrecognizable to me never mind others.

      I explain above how I gradually came to see that Dr. Healy was not the reform psychiatrist I thought, but rather, pretty much a main stream psychiatrist still pushing toxic drugs, bogus DSM stigmas and even worse, ECT. As I said above, though studies have shown SSRI’s to be pretty useless as in THE EMPEROR’S NEW DRUGS and having lethal effects exposed long before Dr. Healy came on the scene, he claims he still prescribes them. Thus, I mused that he must have a crystal ball to determine who will be destroyed by this gateway poison to bipolar due to its iatrogenic effects not to mention other deadly effects which are the only effects. I realize that this is his and possibly your bread and butter, so it’s hard to see/admit the truth when such truth may impact one’s livelihood or rather, one’s wealthy life style gained by robbing others of their health, sanity, marriage, children, career, human and civil rights and very life.

      For the umpteenth time, I made no claim that the brief ECT line in the article above was the focus of the article, but just the fact it was included as is the case with other articles in this blog that advocate for ECT or attempt to make it appear safer than psych drugs. That and the fact that Dr. Healy is a major advocate for ECT made this topic very relevant here in the opinion of many at this site including me. I already stated why I felt that this site should be inclusive rather than focused on the pet preferences of a certain few as has been the case here above, so I won’t bother repeating it.

      What is most unbelievable in your great enlightening post to me is your fascist claim that the fact I have dared disagree with you, Dr. Healy and others here is a form of disrespect to you all. Unreal!! I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. Did I just see Stalin or Hitler in some horrible time warp? No, I am right in the increasinglly fascist USA thanks to people like you out to rob one and all of their every human right.

      Finally, Dr. Healy can do all the drug work he wants. I have already concluded that the entire mainstream medical pathocracy is so hopelessly corrupted by BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS/GOVERNMENT that the only safe thing is to avoid it altogether as the plague on humanity it clearly is and research alternative, holistic health sources to find the best ways to stay healthy. Most doctors have become mere drug sales reps for BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS pushing toxic drugs (or ECT) to keep the majority sick and drugged/shocked for life.

      Thank you again for your ongoing efforts to enlighten one and all about the fascist pseudoscience of mainstream psychiatry and how it too must be avoided like the plague it clearly is, which you and your cohorts have helped me to see all the more. As far as Robert Whitaker’s views on the use of drugs, it really doesn’t matter because I do my own research and make my own final decisions regardless of what others think especially when it will affect me or my loved ones and not them or you for that matter. I still admire Bob Whitaker’s excellent work exposing many of the crimes of psychiatry and BIG PHARMA/BUSINES/GOVERNMENT, which is part of the tons of research I’ve done to arrive at my own decisions for my life, which I urge anyone to do for themselves rather then trusting those in power.

      Report comment

      • These are Uncivil Personal attacks:
        >>saying I didn’t read the article AGAIN is just another form of mind rape typical of you and your cohorts in the mental “health” profession<> I realize that this is his and possibly your bread and butter, so it’s hard to see/admit the truth when such truth may impact one’s livelihood or rather, one’s wealthy life style gained by robbing others of their health, sanity, marriage, children, career, human and civil rights <>I explain above how I gradually came to see that Dr. Healy was not the reform psychiatrist I thought, but rather, pretty much a main stream psychiatrist still pushing toxic drugs, bogus DSM stigmas and even worse, ECT<> No, I am right in the increasinglly fascist USA thanks to people like you out to rob one and all of their every human right.<<

        You are exercising your rights to express your disdain. Loathing actually is a better word for your tone. This is your message for anyone who reads the comment thread of David Healy's blog.

        You have the right to divert any discussion about the content of a blog by Dr. Healy to ECT and your hate speech diatribe of the mental health profession,in the name of your reform and psychiatric survivors movement.
        And everyone, as you say, can decide for themselves the best course of action.

        I will decide to stop reading your posts.

        Report comment

        • Sinead, Is that a promise? And will you stop attacking, I mean responding to me with your usual ad hominem attacks and pity ploys while doing the very thing you accuse me and others of doing?

          And here is a great review of the highly recommended book about the perils of ECT, DOCTORS OF DECEPTION. This review is by a well known psychiatrist who used to do ECT, but could no longer do so when forced to admit to himself how harmful it was to people. But, according to you, telling the truth about this barbaric practice is more harmful than destroying people’s lives with such brain damaging torture treatments with which you are complicit. I think I can sleep quite well without your approval, but can you?

          Report comment

        • Mislabeling telling the truth with facts to back it up as disdain, loathing, incivility, disrepect and other pity ploys and ongoing character assassination of me rather than providing legitimate evidence and facts of your own to negate what I said and facts I provided with your own evidence and credible studies/facts is another side tracking propaganda device to obfuscate the real issues here.

          Sadly, the very tactics you falsely accuse me of using are those typical of psychiatry in bed with BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS to deceive a brainwashed public and falsely stigmatize unsuspecting targets in emotional distress to push lethal brain damaging tortures in the guise of medicine based on junk science.

          According to you, my telling the truth is trying to damage Dr. Healy’s reputation.

          Report comment

  14. Dear Donna,
    Above where there is no reply *button*, you said:

    ” So much for the good doctor you cite and her attacks on me and my so called ignorance. The fact that she advocates ECT is all that I need to know.”

    The good doctor, Ivana Filli- DID NOT ADVOCATE FOR ECT. So, perhaps you may need something else to support discounting her good advice.

    I am not advocating for ECT either, and I find that you do not read thoroughly any writing that does not come from a source you have *judged* to be OK. The mark of an education is taking in all sides and reflecting on them, employing critical reasoning, questioning, thinking from the perspective of others to determine why they think or write as they do- engaging as though WE all ARE equally humanly capable of this. YOU, demonstrate an unfortunate effect of indoctrination- a poor substitute for education- and therefor you are just her conducting a litmus test and ultimately deciding whose opinion is valid- NOT if what she says is TRUE, but whether or not you will acknowledge it.

    This is a good place to point out that Dr. Healy not only sought to prove himself WRONG regarding the issue of finding a most horrifying reality with regard to the data being analyzed to determine the potential risk for suicide with SSRIs..BUT in this article he began by sharing that he “made a plea from his heart” to the editor of LANCET in 2000 asking to be shown where he was IN ERROR.

    I know you do not ever believe your position or means for stating it is in error. That is precisely why you aren’t engaging in dialogue/discussion- but you are certainly trying to indoctrinate others in the same manner you yourself have arrived at your place of COMPLACENCY- that you are right. End of story.

    You know what a conclusion actually represents? It is only a marker of the place where you decided to STOP THINKING.

    Report comment

  15. This is maybe the most fascinating thread on MiA I’ve seen so far — although my interest admittedly dropped a bit at about comment # 100 or so –: somebody, “anonymous”, makes a critical remark about the article’s author (at least, that’s what I presume it was, it was already removed when I first came here), and, instead of doing what everybody preaches, i.e. discussing the article itself, ignoring the remark, The Drama is on, with everybody happily participating in it to the same extent.

    Personally, I can’t quite make myself believe those of you, who say you want to discuss the article, not the person Healy, as long as what you, too, do is discussing the person Healy. Whenever words and actions disagree, it’s the actions that count, as a friend of mine, and blogger on this site, Olga Runciman, uses to say. Maybe worth keeping in mind.

    Off topic in regard to the article, I know. I’d just so wish, people would think twice.

    Report comment