The importance of a remarkable new film, The Minds of Men, was underscored by otherwise inexplicable recent events surrounding government support and sponsorship of electroconvulsive treatment (ECT). The Minds of Men is among the most important and informative documentaries we have ever seen.
With film footage and FOIA materials that represent truth rather than “conspiracy theories,” The Minds of Men tells the story of the government’s secret efforts to support mind control research. From ECT and psychosurgery to drugs like LSD, it goes further to expose other psychosis-inducing experiments on unwitting volunteers by highly respected doctors taking covert federal dollars.
The recent events surrounding ECT began with good news. A product liability case brought by attorney David Karen was settled against the shock manufacturer Somatics, Inc., the manufacturer of the Thymatron shock machine. The settlement followed a California judge’s decision that there was sufficient evidence for brain damage from ECT to submit the question to a jury. Somatics Inc. settled rather than let a jury decide against them. The scientific basis for the judge’s opinion was contained in my affidavit report to the court and the many studies on my free ECT Resource Center.
Modern electroshock (ECT) delivers up to ten times the amount of electricity needed to cause a seizure, leading to a very severe convulsion, unconsciousness, coma, flat lining of the brain waves, and aftereffects identical to a severe concussion with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Older ECT machines could cause a convulsion with as little as 80-120 milliamps while the newer ones like Thymatron and MECTA deliver a fixed current between 800 and 900 milliamps. As a result of the fixed and far greater doses of traumatic electrical current and energy, modern ECT is far more damaging than the older versions.
Soon after the judge’s opinion and the settlement, the FDA leaped to the defense of the shock industry. Without any testing at all, effective December 26, the FDA has approved ECT for infliction upon people with “treatment-resistant depression.”
The FDA’s decision was made covertly without the opportunity for the usually required delay for a public response. It was undoubtedly published during the holidays to avoid news coverage. This is an agency that’s supposed to protect the public? No, it too often works to deceive the public on behalf of powerful interest groups.
Since the drugs often do more harm than good, many if not most “depressed” people end up feeling or being labeled “treatment-resistant.”1 The FDA’s decision has made ECT suitable for almost anyone who gets depressed, that is, anyone experiencing grief, hopelessness, despair, or even the “blahs,” depending on the doctor or prescriber’s personal definition of “depression.”
The definition of “treatment-resistant” will also be left up to any healthcare provider’s subjective definition. Is failing to respond to one therapist a proof of being treatment resistant? Or does it require the failure to respond to an antidepressant or two—when the latest research shows these drugs do not even work? (For research on the ineffectiveness and harmful of antidepressants, see my free Antidepressant Resource Center.)
Doctors who routinely make patients worse with their drugs will now be able to make them worse than ever imagined with ECT. And as it always seems to happen, the patient’s “mental illness” will be blamed for everything, including memory loss and brain damage from ECT.
Why would the federal government take such a tragic and horrendous action as to approve the rampant use of a brain-damaging “treatment”?
The new film The Minds of Men may have the answer. The Minds of Men is the creation of two incredible young filmmakers, Aaron and Melissa Dykes, who interviewed me extensively—even promoting the film as featuring me—and then stunned me and my wife Ginger with a film filled with previously unknown information about the history of covert and often shameful research on mind control.
December 26 is a day that may live in infamy—the beginning of a potentially permanent open season for shock doctors against nearly everyone trapped and already harmed by psychiatry. Watch The Minds of Men. It helps to explain how this can happen in America. It’s already been seen by more than one-third of a million people. Do your best to get it over the million mark and beyond. You will strike a blow for human freedom in the battle against governmental tyranny, including the abusive authority of the FDA.
- See my books, P. Breggin (2008), Medication Madness (New York: St. Martin’s Press) and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (New York: Springer). ↩
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.