What We’re Talking About
When We Talk About ECT


Frontiers in Psychiatry presents a review of evidence regarding ECT’s mechanisms of action by Roar Fosse and John Read, concluding that “In considering this evidence, we hypothesize that ECT affects the brain in a similar manner as severe stress or brain trauma which activates the HPA axis and the dopamine system and may compromise frontotemporal functions.”

Article →

Fosse, R., Read, J.; Electroconvulsive Treatment: Hypotheses About Mechanisms of Action. Frontiers in Psychiatry. August 27, 2013: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00094

Of further interest:
ECT: Hypotheses About Mechanisms of Action (Behaviorism and Mental Health)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Duane, I don’t know why you label Peter Breggin a “conservative.” I see him as a tireless, brilliant and courageous fighter for the rights of “mental patients” over the space of many decades. He worked with John Conyers (a liberal Democrat), and has worked with conservative politicians – all on the basis of finding allies wherever they could be found for the cause he has championed.

    Peter doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves. He and Ginger pretty much single handedly stopped NIMH’s plan to drug black inner city teens to prevent “violence”; he exposed psychiatry’s rampant use of lobotomy; he blew the whistle on psychiatry in general, and on SSRI’s connection to suicide – on and on. He took the full blast of psychiatry’s and PhARMA’s wrath when few besides Thomas Szasz and Lauren Mosher were standing up to the establishment.

    So many things Peter has said are now – decades later – being reluctantly acknowledged as true by the establishment. He deserves a place in Huffpost, and on many other platforms as well. I think he and his work get shunned by some because he’s feisty and doesn’t suffer fools well, but a very large part of the progress we see today rests on his shoulders.

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