When I read of this latest human rights assault on our helpless to resist, totally vulnerable and dependent minor children by the FDA, psychiatry, NAMI and big business, I had that awful kind of emotional reaction of feeling both like crying and punching a hole in the wall at the same time. It’s a rage and grief combination of outrage by a father, grandfather and a longtime licensed child and adolescent therapist.
The FDA just approved sales of an electrical device called the Monarch eTNS, manufactured by the NeuroSigma company of Los Angeles, to be used on the brains of children diagnosed with so-called ADHD.
The Monarch eTNS device is the size of your cellphone, with a wire attached to an electrode that gets stuck on a 7-12 year old child’s forehead above their eyebrows all night long while electricity is released into the child’s trigeminal cranial nerve, and also into their vulnerable pre-frontal cortex — “which sends therapeutic signals to the parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD,” according to the FDA press release.
“Therapeutic signals”? Really?
The “parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD”? Really?
My god, Orwell’s dystopian 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World is now here. Take your pick.
I say: FDA, you must prove those outrageous, pseudoscience claims about exactly how this directly applied electric current scientifically affects children’s brains.
When I broke this news to my friend Dr. Peter Breggin, he said I needed to be on his Public Radio Network program to help sound the alarm about this FDA newly approved nightmare and “to talk about all the atrocities we commit on our children.”
Here’s the link to that intense hour with my friend Peter.
When we were done, Peter stated that because of the FDA reported side effects of headache, fatigue, teeth clenching, drowsiness, increased appetite and sleeplessness caused by the infliction of this new psychiatric electrical assault to the pre-frontal cortex of children’s brains, “I have concluded that we will be inflicting ‘mini-lobotomies’ of epidemic proportions on our children under the cover of psychiatry.”
No one has fought harder for decades than Peter against ECT and the harmful medications used by psychiatry. Please see the vast resources available on his website breggin.com.
I’ve been a therapist working with children and teens aged 3 to 18 since the early 1980’s. I’ve never diagnosed a child or teen with so-called ADHD or with the label that too often comes next, so-called bipolar disorder, while at the large public sector mental health system where I worked for 28 years — or since. (See my article, “Will Psychiatry’s Harmful Treatment of Our Children Bring About Its Eventual Demise?”)
I’ve never referred any of those children or teens for psychiatric medication of any kind either. (See “Why Parents Give Amphetamines and Other Risky Psychiatric Drugs to the Children They Love.”)
So when frightened parents come to me saying that overwhelmed teachers are demanding that their child must be seen by an MD and evaluated for ADHD, and then be placed on amphetamine-based stimulants like Ritalin and Adderal, I go to the school with the parents to convince the teachers and principal that psycho-social resources like family and individual therapy could help instead to relieve the child’s restless and very active behavior that was upsetting the teacher in the often overcrowded and overstimulating chaotic classroom environment. I’d also urge getting parental support from progressive groups (not NAMI groups) that didn’t rely on and promote the psychiatric disease model as all NAMI parent groups do.
Also, when parents come to me and say that the child psychiatrist they just took their child to see for an ADHD evaluation reached into his desk drawer after five minutes and ghoulishly took out a model of a child’s brain for the huge-eyed child and frightened parent to see, and pointed to a spot on the plastic model of the child’s brain and said, “Right here is where there is an ADHD problem with your brain that the medication I’ll give you today will fix,” I respond in the same way. When I recently heard that awful story from a parent, I again urged them to start family and child therapy and attend parental support groups to help avoid amphetamine-based medication being prescribed for their child.
The harmful so-called “side effects” from those amphetamine-based stimulant drugs that Peter Breggin has so thoroughly documented are really the actual drug effects.
But so too are the so-called side effects reported from the new Monarch electrical brain home treatment device. Again, those unacceptable real effects are “drowsiness, an increase in appetite, trouble sleeping, teeth clenching, headache and fatigue.”
The FDA also amazingly stated about the Monarch eTNS device: “No serious adverse events were associated with use of the device.” What do they mean by “serious adverse events” if the awful effects listed above from electrical currents being sent into the brain aren’t serious enough? For the psychiatric apologists at the FDA, does the lack of a “serious adverse event” mean that none of the children in the Orwellian research experiment went into convulsions, went blind or died from the electricity hitting their vulnerable developing brains all night long? (See “Should Children Have Consent Rights For Psychosurgery, ECT and Sterilization?”)
And get this — in the research trials where only 30 labelled and stigmatized kids were given the electric home treatment instead of the other group who got placebo, the FDA doesn’t even blink when they report that the therapeutic response “may take up to 4 weeks to become evident.”
So every night for a month, parents are instructed and expected to send electricity into their child’s brain at home while the child sleeps, and the parents wait for the supposed results while their child suffers the real effects (not so-called ‘side’ effects) of the harmful electricity. Receiving that electric current is described by children as uncomfortably feeling like a constant “tingling sensation” on their foreheads, according to the FDA press release.
All of this is happening against the backdrop of ADHD diagnoses being up 30 percent in eight years due to the pushing of amphetamine-based drugs by the drug companies and the duplicity of psychiatry and countless pediatricians, plus the political onslaught of NAMI which has lobbied to ensure that every child is evaluated for the bio-genetic psychiatric brain disorders that NAMI so absolutely believes exist.
One in five children have the diagnosis of ADHD in the US now. That’s six million minor children!
The Center for Disease Control issued a national alert when they discovered that over 10,000 toddlers under the age of three had been diagnosed with ADHD and were being prescribed off-label amphetamine-based drugs like Ritalin and Adderal.
I was initially surprised that big pharma didn’t somehow block the development and FDA approval for the home-use Monarch electric device, that I thought would cut into pharma’s ADHD market share monopoly, but Peter Breggin said that this electricity device is aimed at the 20 percent of children who don’t respond to the amphetamine drugs. (However, as he pointed out, “There’s no evidence that any of the kids are helped by the drugs.”)
Finally, the FDA unbelievably reports that “the exact mechanism of eTNS is not yet known.” Yet they still approved it for sale and outrageously claim that it sends “therapeutic signals” to the parts of the brain associated with ADHD.
It’s a serious tragedy in the making that this dangerous device was ever approved for sale by your local child psychiatrist, GP or pediatrician.
Please protest the use of this new device on our children in any way that is available to you.
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.
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