ECT for Agitation and Aggression
in Dementia

Philip Hickey, PhD
47
1755

On May 16, 2014, the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published an article by Deepa Archarya, PhD, et al.  The article is titled Safety and utility of acute electroconvulsive therapy for agitation and aggression in dementia.  Here are the authors’ conclusions:

“Electroconvulsive therapy may be a safe treatment option to reduce symptoms of agitation and aggression in patients with dementia whose behaviors are refractory to medication management.”

In their introduction section, the authors write:

“Despite the high prevalence of these agitated and aggressive behaviors, there are currently no treatment options approved by US Food and Drug Administration for this indication. Nonpharmacological interventions, including environmental and behavioral modification, are difficult to implement in nursing home settings because of low staff-to-resident ratios.”

“Atypical antipsychotics have been found to be only modestly helpful in addressing behavioral symptoms and unfortunately are associated with dangerous side effects including tardive dyskinesia, cerebrovascular adverse events, sedation, and increased risk of mortality;”

“A major concern for using ECT in older patients, especially those with dementia, is its adverse effect on cognitive functioning. Research has found that most neurocognitive effects of ECT in older patients without dementia are short term and tend to resolve within a 6-month period.”

Methods and Procedures

Study participants were 23 individuals (mean age 73.8) who had been admitted to McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, or Pine Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a diagnosis of dementia, and who had been referred for electric shock treatment for agitation and/or aggression.  McLean Hospital is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and Pine Rest with Michigan State University.

Patients were enrolled in the study after the authors  “…obtained written informed consent from the AHCR [authorized healthcare representative] and assent from the study participants.”  The term “assent” is widely used in the medical field to indicate that an individual, who is not legally competent to consent to a treatment, has indicated, verbally or non-verbally, a willingness to proceed.

Standardized agitation, neuropsychiatric, and depression inventories, as well as the Clinical Global Impression scale, were administered at approximately weekly intervals throughout the study period.  The inventories were completed by nursing staff, and the CGI by the treating psychiatrist.

In addition, a Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE), Severe Impairment Battery (SIB), and an activities of daily living scale were administered at baseline (i.e. prior to the course of electric shocks) and at discharge.  Though, because of “…agitation and/or inability to sustain attention” only 10 participants completed the before and after MMSE, and only 6 completed the SIB.

Electric shocks were administered three times per week  “…or less frequently if clinically indicated.”

Results

The mean number of electric shock sessions was 9.4, ranging from a low of 5 to a high of 14.

Participants’ scores improved significantly on the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, and on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory.  “As needed” neuroleptic use declined from an average chlorpromazine equivalent dose of 7.8/week at the beginning of the study to 1.6/week at the end.  But there was no change in the use of standing neuroleptic drugs.  [“Standing” in this context means prescribed on a regular basis, through a standing order.]

Sixty-one percent of the participants (i.e. 14 of the 23) were using atypical antipsychotics on admission.  This increased to 65% (i.e. 15 out of 23) by the time the shock treatment began, and had reverted to 61% at discharge.

There was no significant change in scores on the activities of daily living scale.

Discussion

The authors write:

“Overall, our results demonstrated ECT to effectively reduce symptoms of agitation and aggression in older patients with dementia who did not respond to  psychopharmacological intervention alone. This suggests that ECT may be a potential treatment option for patients with dementia who are refractory to medications for agitation and aggression. Importantly, there were significant reductions in behavioral disturbances by the third ECT session, and most participants showed a reduction in behavioral disturbances by the ninth ECT session. If borne out by subsequent trials, such rapid reduction in behavioral disturbances could have significant public health implications by improving the quality of life for patients with dementia, alleviating caregiver burden, and increasing residential placement options for patients.”

And:

“In our study, ECT was discontinued for two participants (both with end-stage dementia) because of poor response, which was defined by recurrence of agitation and aggression that reached approximately baseline severity levels.  [Elsewhere in the report the authors state that one of these individuals died a month after his final ECT session, and that the treatment team determined that the cause of death was unrelated to the ECT.]   Three participants, despite improvement in agitation and aggression, had adverse events that resulted in discontinuation of ECT.”

The authors point out that the study design was naturalistic, and lacked a control group.

Comment

The authors acknowledge that the study had a number of limitations, including the fact that it was “open label.”  This means that the staff who rated the participants before and after the electric shocks were aware that the individuals had received these shocks.  In fact, as is made clear in the text, the raters were involved in the care of the participants, and were probably invested in the outcome of the study.  Under such circumstances, it’s very easy to see improvements and to ignore deteriorations in participants’ behavior.  This is particularly the case in that the kinds of ratings used in a study of this nature necessarily involve a good measure of subjective judgment and interpretation.

The authors were aware of this concern, and they state:

“As this was the first naturalistic, prospective study of the use of ECT to treat agitation and aggressive symptoms in patients with dementia, the goal was to collect preliminary data for the development of a randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical investigation.”

Nevertheless, the authors express considerable optimism for this “treatment”:

“Despite these limitations, our results are encouraging and suggest that ECT may be a rapidly acting, safe, and effective treatment for certain patients with dementia and behavioral disturbances that do not respond to or tolerate standard behavioral interventions and pharmacotherapy.”

Despite the caveats in the earlier part of this sentence, the optimistic tone strikes me as unwarranted by the study’s results.

The phrase  “… patients with dementia and behavioral disturbances that do not respond to or tolerate standard behavioral interventions…” is also noteworthy, in that there is no mention in the study text that any kind of behavioral interventions had ever been attempted with the enrolled individuals, nor that a history of failure with these kinds of interventions was a pre-requisite for study enrollment.  This is a critically important matter because the use of psychiatric interventions to “treat” agitation and aggression in cases of dementia is often criticized on the grounds that behavioral interventions are safer, more effective and should always be tried first.  The authors’ implication that behavioral interventions had been tried without success seems misleading.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In Table 1 of the article it states that 65.2% (15 out of 23) of the individuals enrolled were recommended for “continuation ECT.”  When we remember that five individuals were dropped from the study because of poor response or adverse events, it is clear that the effective percentage is 83% (15 out of 18).  This is important in that there is a perception among the general public that electric shocks to the brain are a one-time “treatment” that somehow fix aberrant neural mechanisms.  In reality, “continuation ECT” is very common.  It is also, I think, noteworthy, that apart from the line in Table 1, there is no mention of continuation ECT in the text.  It’s worth asking whether the medical proxies who signed the consent forms were aware that any gains from the “treatment” would be temporary, and that there was a high likelihood that electric shocks to the brain would become standard “treatment” for the individuals concerned.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Many of the participants were taking psychoactive drugs on admission and on discharge.  The authors provide the following table:

Acharya et al Table 2

The admission percentages add up to 252, so it is clear that many of the participants were taking more than one of these drugs.

Several of these products have adverse effects that could readily contribute to agitation/aggression, and even to the dementia.  Atypical antipsychotics, more accurately known as neuroleptics, for instance, cause tardive dyskinesia and akathisia, both of which are extraordinarily impairing and unpleasant.  It is not difficult to accept that these drug-induced conditions could precipitate agitation and aggression, especially in people whose cognitive ability has declined.  In fact, extreme agitation is the primary feature of akathisia.

An additional consideration here is that although, in their opening remarks, the authors draw attention to the lack of efficacy and dangerous side effects of antipsychotics in these situations, they continued to prescribe them for participants during this study.

Here are some known adverse effects of the other classes of drugs mentioned in the article: 

Anticonvulsants:  These drugs are used to treat epilepsy but are also used in psychiatry for the condition known as bipolar disorder.  Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a member of this class.  PDR.net lists confusion as a frequent adverse reaction; and akathisia, dyskinesia, hostility, memory decrease, and paranoid reaction as infrequent adverse reactions.

Benzodiazepines:  These drugs are classed as sedatives/minor tranquilizers, and are widely used in geriatric populations.  Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a member of this class.  PDR.net states that “Paradoxical reactions (e.g., excitement, stimulation, and acute rage) reported in psychiatric patients…” [Emphasis added]

Antidepressants:  Even in psychiatric circles it has been acknowledged that these drugs can cause manic-like episodes.  (DSM-IV:  “Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder”  p 332)

Cholinesterase inhibitors:  These are commonly used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia.  Four cholinesterase inhibitors are approved by the FDA for this purpose:  Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, and Cognex.  All four of these products (according to the NIH’s site MedlinePlus) have a wide range of unpleasant side effects, e.g., nausea, vomiting, incontinence, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle aches, headaches, extreme tiredness, stomach pain, uncontrollable shaking, etc., and it is certainly conceivable that individuals taking these drugs might become agitated or aggressive, especially individuals who, because of cognitive deficits, are unable to communicate their distress verbally.  It is also noteworthy that aggressive behavior is mentioned by the NIH as a specific adverse effect of one of these products (Exelon)

NMDA receptor antagonists:  This is a broad category of drugs, many of which induce a state known as dissociative anesthesia.  Examples include:  Ketamine, chloroform, alcohol.  Ketamine is sometimes used in psychiatry for depression.  Memantine, a member of this class, is approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and probably accounts for most, if not all, of the MNDA/RA’s reported in this study.  The NIH lists aggression as a specific side effect.

Given the extent to which these various drugs were being used by the study’s participants, it is certainly conceivable that the drugs were contributing to the agitation and aggression.  The authors don’t appear to have considered this possibility, and in fact, state:

“It may be possible that the reduction in agitation and aggression may have been due to a synergistic effect between ECT and pharmacological treatment.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Against all this, it could be argued that the incidence of these various adverse effects is generally low, and couldn’t account for the frequency of aggressive behavior in the study participants.  But the participants were not a random selection of people taking the drugs in question.  Rather, they were individuals selected because of aggressive behavior, most of whom had been taking some or all of these drugs on admission.  So it is a distinct possibility that the aggression was a drug effect for many, or even most, of the study participants.

In addition, it is noteworthy that the use of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, cholesterinase inhibitors and NMDA/RA’s was discontinued towards the end of the study period for many of the 23 participants.  From Table 2, reproduced above, we can calculate the number of individuals involved:

Acharya changes from table 2

 

Given that all of these drugs have the potential to induce aggression/agitation, it is surely possible that discontinuing these drugs for some individuals could lower the overall incidence of these kinds of reactions.

So when Dr. Acharya, et al, state that:  “It may be possible that the reduction in agitation and aggression may have been due to a synergistic effect between ECT and pharmacological treatment,” it is equally plausible that any reduction in the incidence of aggression is attributable to a combination of the state of docility often noted post-electric shock treatment plus the fact that aggression-inducing drugs were discontinued in many cases.

Unfortunately, what psychiatrists will likely take from the study is the self-serving conclusion that ECT is an acceptable way to manage agitation and aggression in people with dementia, and, unfortunately, this is also the message being given to the general public.  

Sue Thoms is a journalist who writes for MLive/The Grand Rapids Press.  On September 18, 2014, she wrote a piece for MLive.  The article was apparently based on an interview with Louis Nykamp, MD, one of the study’s authors.  Here are some quotes:

“Dementia patients who were severely agitated and aggressive benefitted from electroconvulsive therapy in a study conducted by researchers at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and two other institutions.”

Note the unqualified assertion  “…benefitted from…” even though such a conclusion is not warranted by the study.

“Doctors don’t know how the ECT treatments work, he [Dr. Nykamp] added.

‘It’s possible that we are treating underlying agitated depression,’ he said. ‘Or it’s possible we are simply working through another mechanism to help modify some of the brain circuitry that is leading to the substantial agitation and impulsivity.'”

There it is:  agitation may be caused by “underlying agitated depression,” the spurious superficiality of which notion is self-evident.  Or:  high voltage electric shocks delivered to the brain may fix aberrant brain circuits, a contingency which in any context other than psychiatric orthodoxy would be considered laughable.  Electric shock treatment causes brain damage, and any putative gains claimed by psychiatrists are attributable to a well-known transient effect called post-concussional euphoria.  Memory loss, in many cases, is more or less permanent.

It is, I suggest, a gross misuse of medical authority and medical credentials to subject older members of society to this kind of abuse.

* * * * *

This article appears on Philip Hickey’s website,
Behaviorism and Mental Health

47 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely. So treating brain damage with more brain damage to create docile, manageable patients who require less time and energy and resources?
    And, we will drug these poor people with toxins that cause agitation and aggression and then use that outcome to justify using ECT??

    So the markets are expanding. Chrys’s article on ECT being advocated for teenagers and this one on the elderly. ECT for everyone, all the time!!

    Why does this evil, barbaric human rights abuse/ assault continue in light of all the research and the books that have been written revealing it for what it is: a violent, traumatic assault causing brain damage? Is there nothing that can stop these ghouls?

  2. The psychiatric industry is sick, they attack and harm the weakest in society. Some day their behavior in the US today will be seen as every bit as evil as the Nazi psychiatrists behavior back during WWII, I hope and pray.

    Thank you for your efforts in pointing out the psychiatric industry’s continuing crimes against humanity, Dr. Hickey.

  3. Just to point out the obvious, of course the shock treatment reduces agitation and aggression. It reduces every other kind of expression of emotion as well.

    If we want to stop this, we have to be “agitated and aggressive” ourselves. We were able to stop shock in Berkeley, CA, thirty years ago by taking the question to the ballot, where we prevailed overwhelmingly. I think the public still thinks that shock is barbaric, and our movement should be raising this issue a lot more than we have. In general, our movement for human rights needs more action and less talk.

  4. The profession of main stream psychiatry often hides behind a veneer of science and medicine, when in point of fact, its practices, and techniques are not based on either one.

    “here it is: agitation may be caused by “underlying agitated depression,” the spurious superficiality of which notion is self-evident. Or: high voltage electric shocks delivered to the brain may fix aberrant brain circuits, a contingency which in any context other than psychiatric orthodoxy would be considered laughable. Electric shock treatment causes brain damage, and any putative gains claimed by psychiatrists are attributable to a well-known transient effect called post-concussional euphoria. Memory loss, in many cases, is more or less permanent. ”

    The Elderly are much more vulnerable to both the effects of ECT, and also often lack the ability to resist pressures from hospitals and treatment providers who aggressively encourage ECT treatments for them, regardless of the outcome.

    They are also very susceptible to the damaging effects of psychiatric medications, and can easily develop whats called treatment refractory depression, after decades of being prescribed brain damaging medication. When this happens, ECT is usually the treatment of choice. Many insurance providers, don’t require psychiatric review of these procedures, some handle it on a clerical basis.

    ECT, is quite lucrative to those that do it, they can bill thousands of dollars per session, and many schedule dozens of sessions a day on multiple patients. With cursory approval by insurance companies, psychiatrists purse these treatments quite aggressively for their patients.

    When an elderly patient, becomes little more than a vegetable afterward, there are no consequences to the treating psychiatrist, who callously then may recommend more ECT treatments.

    Some patients get routine maintenance ECT, of weekly sessions for years on end. And if these sessions result in severe disability, the patient and family are in no position to question, what has happened, or to pursue legal redress. Yet severe disability often results.

    The use of psychiatric medications, that have little more effectiveness than a placebo, often results in the very same symptoms they were supposed to treat. In addition the use of Benzodiazapenes, increases a persons likelihood of getting Alzheimers, by a whopping 52%.

    The fact that we allow these practices despite the fact that they do not effectively treat any anyone, and further damage people is a testament to the destructive nature of the profession of psychiatry, and to our antidiluvian belief system in its regard. Psychiatry, does not know what causes these illnesses, and because of that it does not know how to treat them. Believing in psychiatry, however lucrative for the medical corporations, has no basis in science or medicine, its pure witchcraft.

    The principal of first do no harm, has long ago been forgotten, by those whose only real concern is how to enrich themselves, by exploiting human suffering.

  5. It is worth noting that they say that behavioral interventions are difficult to implement due to high staffing ratios. So that they’re really saying is that we’re not willing to deploy the human resources necessary to actually meet their needs, so instead we can use shock treatment to force them into a more quiescent state while still shortchanging them on attention and effective intervention. It’s particularly offensive to read this when considering that many if not most of these folks are in for-profit nursing facilities who make more money for their stockholders by minimizing personnel costs. Naturally, drugs and ECT are much more appealing to people who are more interested in the bottom line than the actual quality of life of their charges.

    It is sickening that this is even spoken of in such polite terms.

    —- Steve

    • Agree, Steve.
      I had tears reading this piece. That the elderly should be tortured to allow for- profit nursing facilities to maximise gains by minimising staff and care is cruel, inhuman and immoral.

      It is no real surprise that psychiatrists are complicit in devising, assessing, advocating for and inflicting such abuse, but the extent of the psychopathology necessary to do so is absolutely astounding.

      The degree to which they influence the writing of laws is quite frightening given that they have no scientific basis for their treatments, and a hugely vested interest in their implementation.

      Thanks once again, Philip, for this insightful, albeit exceedingly upsetting piece of analysis.

      • I’d like to add though that the root cause of all of this is that no one cares about these people. Whether we think about it from a legal, economic, or political perspective, if there were truly groups who were concerned for the welfare of these individuals, we would see people removing their family members from care, see public advocates filing lawsuits and going to the presses (Don’t tell me “Nursing home electrocutes patients for being grumpy” wouldn’t sell), see people protesting for new laws or to cut medicaid funding to facilities who do this.

        The problem is that these people are just being put out of sight. The knowledge that this is going on, is being *published*, yet sparks no outrage, just shows that the true goal of the psychiatric enterprise, from the families that agree to put their members away, from the social workers and GPs that refer them, to the doctors, to the politicians, is to remove undesirable people from circulation, and tame them, and call it compassion.

    • Steve,

      Good points. Even the term electroconvulsive therapy is misleading because it is not therapy in any meaningful sense of the term. It is the application of high voltage electric shock to the brain – the most sophisticated piece of “apparatus” in the world. People wouldn’t dream of fixing their computers that way!

  6. ….Despite the high prevalence of these agitated and aggressive behaviors, there are currently no treatment options approved by US Food and Drug Administration for this indication.

    Agitated and aggressive behaviors are normal human resp0nses to acute mistreatment and disrespect. When people are treated with dignity and understanding they tend to recover. Unfortunately, unless this treatment becomes as profitable as neuroleptic drugs or ECT, it will be passed over for consideration.

  7. So horrific. There is not much to say that has not already been said by previous commenters. Keep bringing this up to live people and questioning them on it. I have the email addresses of all psych profs and those that also work in local hospital. I hope sometimes when I share the horrors you reveal that these people become human again. If they don’t know any different, are they inhumane? Yes we must break this cycle of this inhumanity by continually speaking up…it is our life work….to be human and keep helping others to be human too.

  8. I was diagnosed with dementia, agitated depression, psychotic depression and most afflictions listed in the DSM and was forced to have ECT by the facility where I had gone for help in withdrawing from pharmaceuticals (30+ in 8 months).

    I had cold-turkeyed off a benzodiazepine, became tremulous, was diagnosed with agitated depression, given and anti-depressant, developed akathisia – which was then taken for psychotic depression. A drugging frenzy followed – including sleeping pills given 3 times a day to control the drug-induced agitation – and so did 25 rounds of brain-damaging ECT.

    700 pages of medical records retrieved from the psychiatric facility – very disturbing – “Left and right mandible pain post ECT – nausea – gravol” “moderately confused post ECT” “ongoing suicide risk due to ongoing agitation” “memory poor” “shooting pains in head – muscle cramps in legs” “Allen Cognitive Level – completed first part without difficulty – in the second part she had difficulty problem solving and learning and remembering new information (which is consistent with the current side effect of ECT ” NB – that was written in my records by a social worker!!!! “accessing entrance to building and checking mailbox done with difficulty” “looked for items as if she did not remember where they were located” “her questions are repeatedly same, has quite a bit of amnesia from ECT” NB – again written in my file after a home visit with social worker prior to discharge.

    I got out, withdrew from all meds, and did not go back for maintenance ECT. Everything was caused by pharmacy and polypharmacy and IGNORANCE. Ten years later I still have cognitive difficulties and am missing at least 20 years of memory/memories.

    Surviving and publishing my medical records will be the best revenge. In the words on an MD friend: “ECT is always malpractice”

  9. Philip,
    Your post contains some valuable criticisms of the paper you reference. May I suggest summarizing these as a comment on the PubPeer page corresponding to that article? https://pubpeer.com/publications/C83CE05FBB33BF848E8EA862379443

    In case you’re not familiar, PubPeer is a site for critical discussion of scientific publications. Commenters on PubPeer have already uncovered numerous instances of fraudulent research, resulting in retractions.

    The PubPeer page for the Archarya, et al. article has already gotten a few views and will likely receive more in the future, so if you place a comment there it will become visible to researchers interested in critical discussion of the article in question. Be sure to read the howto first: https://pubpeer.com/howto

    As many Mad in America posts involve criticism of published research, I believe it would be good practice as a community for authors to extract the purely factual elements of their criticisms and post them as PubPeer comments. This would be one way to expand the reach of the work being done here beyond the existing readership of MIA.

  10. Philip,

    Re: “Patients were enrolled in the study after the authors “…obtained written informed consent from the AHCR [authorized healthcare representative] and assent from the study participants.” The term “assent” is widely used in the medical field to indicate that an individual, who is not legally competent to consent to a treatment, has indicated, verbally or non-verbally, a willingness to proceed.”

    … Let me get this straight, the nursing home patients are having their brains shocked, based upon ‘assent’?:

    “ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) involves the application of two electrodes to the head to pass electricity through the brain with the goal of causing an intense seizure or convulsion. The process always damages the brain, resulting each time in a temporary coma and often a flatlining of the brain waves, which is a sign of impending brain death. After one, two or three ECTs, the trauma causes typical symptoms of severe head trauma or injury including headache, nausea, memory loss, disorientation, confusion, impaired judgment, loss of personality, and emotional instability. These harmful effects worsen and some become permanent as routine treatment progresses.” – Peter Breggin, MD, http://www.ectresources.org

    Something’s wrong with this picture. Very wrong.

    Duane

  11. ” Nonpharmacological interventions, including environmental and behavioral modification, are difficult to implement in nursing home settings because of low staff-to-resident ratios.”

    So damage old, helpless people’s brains to keep them quiet instead of investing in good care.

    Psychiatry to the rescue for poverty and poor social care – drugs and electroshock.

    These people, and this profession, should be ashamed

  12. Before I fell into the clutches of the facility which considered me ‘an excellent candidate for ECT’ I sought help/second opinion from the head of psychiatry at a local hospital. He thought my problems were trauma-based and felt that medications should be withdrawn. He communicated this to the psychiatrist who had been doing the prescribing. That psychiatrist disagreed, but did let me stop one of the meds – cold turkey. I felt immediately worse – (withdrawal effect) – and that was proof that I needed to be on medication. That’s when I went to the main psych facility and they decided I needed forced ECT.

    Eight years later I went back to see the psychiatrist who had recommended that drugs be withdrawn. He was not useful but he did tell me I was a “survivor”. I learned that most of the people who receive ECT at his hospital are women in their eighties!!!!

    These people must be stopped – SOMEHOW.

  13. I may be ranting – I’m leafing through an absolutely disgusting book – Each Day I Like it Better – by Amy Lutz who is promoting ECT for autism – and the ‘treatment of our most impaired children’. Pediatric ECT.

    ” …. afterwards, he wound up in the hospital for three days with fever, confusion, and chest pain. Emergency room doctors suspected he had developed neuroleptic malignant syndrome from combining the general anesthesia he was administered during ECT with all the medications he was already taking. (The child however was calm.!!!!) Then he got worse than he had been before. The second time he also had neuroleptic malignant syndrome – “Doctors agreed that his medications hadn’t been discontinued early enough before the administration of general anesthesia, causing a dangerous reaction”

    And then I stopped leafing thorough the book.

    How many pharmaceuticals are the elderly already taking? How many anesthetics and jolts to the brain can they take?

  14. It is disgusting what these psychiatrists do to human beings, as I recall electric shocks are used to anesthetize animals before slaughter. All that psychiatry does is destroy brain physical, chemical, electrical and conceptual.It is all that it does folks, its their panacea. Forget about all that chemical neurotransmitter imbalance, genetics , atypical antipsychotic, anxiolytic and other funny words, every treatment in psychiatry is meant to DESTROY BRAIN every kind of pill is a chemical lawnmower it is that simple.DESTROY it is all it does.

  15. Now I was planning a little anti-ECT protest at my local psyche hospital this week (crime scene tape at the ready) but my friend has taken refuge in the hospital and I do not want to get myself banned as I want to visit him.

    Maybe next month?

    An action update page on MiA would be nice…

  16. “Nonpharmacological interventions, including environmental and behavioral modification, are difficult to implement in nursing home settings because of low staff-to-resident ratios.”
    Amazing…
    “Oh, we don’t want to spend money to actually care for these people so let’s just zap their brains until they turn into vegetables.” Seriously? They call themselves doctors? Why not advocate to simply shoot these people? I mean, they’re hopeless anyway and it’d be much cheaper. I’m disgusted and appalled and I lack proper words in my swear words dictionary to call these people.

    • This was advocated in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s by foundations set up by the elite rich here in America. I would actually name one but don’t know if that’s acceptable policy here on MIA. It’s probably the most well-known supposedly philanthropic foundation in this country. They believed that all these “useless eaters” should be put to death, along with all the so-called “mentally ill” and all people who were cognitively challenged or who had low IQ’s. There was widespread support. These foundations called for the same thing to be done in the United States as was being done in Germany.

      Germany was already doing all this, with the support of the government, and it only got worse with the takeover of the country by Hitler and his Nazis.

      What is being done to the elderly in this country today amounts to almost the same thing but how it’s done is much more subtle than packing people off to specified cities where they would be stripped naked, put in a gas chamber into which carbon monoxide was pumped in, and then the bodies dragged away to the ovens to be disposed of. I worked in a good nursing home/retirement center and watched so-called “difficult” residents being drugged to the gills with Haldol etc. These were people who were too vocal, complained about their care, or wouldn’t go to bed at 7 PM like the staff wanted them to do. They would go from being vibrant, talkative, and sometimes loud people to zombies who drooled on themselves as they were kept in Gerry chairs, where they sat all day long staring off into the distance. If the drugging didn’t work to curtail behavior that staff didn’t like they were sent to Gerry psych units were the drugging was worse, to the point that they were unconscious all the time. Thank goodness the Director of Nursing wouldn’t allow anyone to have their brains damaged with ect, but they got everything else.

      This is not something new that’s being done to our elderly. It’s been going on for a long time but now it’s more acceptable and there are fewer family members who complain about their supposed loved one going from being able to walk and talk to being a zombified vegetable. If they do complain they’re threatened with having their loved one having to find another nursing home to live in.

      You are correct, it’s disgusting and horrible and horrifying in all regards but few people speak up for the elderly these days. If you’re older and you can’t speak up or take up for yourself and you don’t have an aggressive advocate to watch over your treatment and best interests you are fair game for this kind of treatment.

      • And by the way, it’s not psychiatrists who are giving the orders for the drugging of the elderly. It’s GP’s and other branches of medicine and sometimes it’s family members themselves who want the drugging done. Our society is falling apart at this point because we no longer care for the most vulnerable among us. We don’t care about children or the elderly and allow destructive things to be done to both groups with impunity.

  17. Ignoring the moral outrage at this “study” it is scientifically bs:
    – the patient group was miniscule and anyway 5 people had to be counted out because of death or severe side effects (who could have predicted that…)
    – there was no control group and it wasn’t blinded
    – the claims about “improving the quality of life for patients with dementia” are pulled out of the so-called researchers a***es – they have no way to say if the patients were OK with it, they only assessed if they are “calmer”
    – there is no assessment on how ECT can influence the progress of dementia – ECT is well known to cause loss of long-term memories and memory formation impairment (retrograde as well and anterograde amnesia) – there was no effort to assess if the ECT didn’t exacerbate the cognitive decline (my guess: sure it did but who cares it’s just old loony annoying people)
    “Researchers” and “doctors” who conducted this “study” should be in jail and not publishing this stuff anywhere.
    I’m used to psychiatry being outrageous and despicable but this has just crossed every line.