Today it is no longer enough to speak of human freedom as if it were in itself a guarantee for the opportunity to live the best possible life. That is because the very right to be a human being is under assault by forces that can and do destroy the fabric of being human—the normal functioning of our brains. Increasingly, we need to speak of protecting people and their brains so that they have the mental wherewithal to enjoy freedom.
Consider this analogy: What happens to a child’s freedom if she is surrounded by the neurotoxic lead in paint and develops permanent disabilities that limit even her ability to imagine a future? What happens to a child’s freedom if he is afflicted with neurotoxic stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall that shrink portions of his brain and drive him toward addiction as he grows up?
What happens to our potential for freedom when our brains are subjected to electroconvulsive shocks that drive us into unconsciousness, convulsions, coma, flatten-lining of the brain waves and delirium, and all the irreversible damage associated with repeated severe concussions leading to traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
The Inception of an Inspiring Victory
Last Saturday, I received a phone call at my home in upstate New York from an old friend, Ron Bassman, a psychotherapist and patient advocate against psychiatric oppression. Ron asked me if I would do the seemingly impossible—prepare to testify in court in Connecticut on Monday to save a 26-year-old from ongoing involuntary ECT.
Ron was embarrassed to ask me on such short notice; but I gladly accepted and asked him to have the attorney call me. Not long after he hung up, I received a call from Gina Teixeira, Staff Attorney for the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. She explained that she was seeking a temporary injunction against giving a young man involuntary shock treatment. A lower court judge had already approved the coercive treatment, the ECT treatments had begun, and she was merely seeking a temporary stoppage to present a stronger case for protecting him from psychiatry.
We worked together for a large chunk of the weekend. Based on my free ECT Resource Center (www.123ECT.com), I was able to show her online articles about brain damage from ECT that she could download, copy and bring to court with her on Monday. In addition, since she had never done an ECT case, I wrote my testimony out for her, to which she quickly began adding important new ideas to our approach.
On Monday morning Gina informed the state’s attorney and the court that she planned to have me testify by phone at the hearing when it began at 2 pm. I set aside the afternoon and waited at the phone. Gina kept me up on what was happening—which was a desperate attempt by the state’s attorney to prevent me from testifying at the hearing.
The Stunning Victory
At around 4 pm, Gina texted me: “We won!”
Never expecting the outcome Gina achieved, I texted back asking if she meant we won the temporary injunction against the ECT.
She texted back that we won “everything.” Afraid of facing me in court, even by telephone, the state gave up entirely and the young man was freed from involuntary ECT treatment, as well as involuntary medication. It was a total victory.
I asked Gina to discuss the legal implications of the case and she replied:
“Although Judge Bellis recognized the important liberty issues in this case and sustained our appeal, we still have work to do at the legislative level in Connecticut. At a minimum, the shock statute needs to provide for an automatic stay of the lower court’s decision in cases of forced treatment so that people can have a meaningful opportunity for appeal. In this case, Judge Bellis found that the ECT and the involuntary medication orders were invalid, and yet my client endured forced treatment during the litigation. Although we were happy with the result in this case because the involuntary treatment ended, the fact that my client received forced treatment pursuant to orders that were found to be legally invalid is unconscionable. We are so grateful that Dr. Breggin was ready to testify in this case and helped us to prepare because that allowed us to move forward with confidence.”
The young man’s potential to enjoy freedom has been protected. Now he will have to overcome the internal demons and the external pressures and conflicts that landed him in such a dreadful place. I hear that ex-patients from the psychiatric reform movement are rallying around him. I hope it is so and wish him the best.
An Insidious New Electrical Threat
Meanwhile, the Psychiatric Industrial Complex, led by a company called Neurosigma, with a device called Monarch, is finding more subtle ways to inflict electrical energy upon the brains of children labeled with ADHD. The FDA has approved the application of electricity by the TNS machine directly to the brains of these children throughout the night.
Writing on Mad in America on May 21, 2019, psychotherapist and lifelong patient advocate Michael Cornwall fired the first salvo at the mighty Monarch, a potential marketing avalanche which could lead to the domination of childhood by electrical contraptions for untold numbers of children.
As Michael notes in his blog titled “FDA Approves Electricity All Night Long on Children’s Brains,” I was stunned by his revelations and quickly invited him to talk about this potential tragedy on my radio talk show. He and I have now committed to a joint effort to protect children for this man-made catastrophe.
The manufacturer’s intention is to apply the treatment for months or years, but the controlled clinical trials for the FDA lasted a mere four weeks. Misleadingly promoted as trigeminal nerve stimulation, it is really a broad electrical assault on the frontal lobes of the brain through electrodes on the forehead; a genuine shotgun approach using electrical zaps instead of pellets.
Is it electroshock treatment? No, it’s more subtle and more sustained—several amps of electricity applied overnight to the front of the brain right into the critical and highly sensitive frontal lobes. There are seizures, but only when something goes wrong. They are not aiming at knocking out the children. Instead, it is a slow electrical erosion—or corrosion—of the highest functions of the brain and mind.
Is there anything specific about ADHD that makes it amenable to electrical current? No, the manufacturers of these machines have been pushing them as a cure-all for everything from ADHD to anxiety, depression, and epilepsy. Veterans with PTSD (and overmedication) have been especially targeted.
Putting an electric current to the brain doesn’t “modulate it,” it deforms the brain’s natural and normal electrical system. If a psychiatric treatment like direct electrical stimulation of the brain “works,” it works by harming the brain. My profession of psychiatry has no physical treatments that do anything other than disrupt, disable and often destroy the highest human functions of the brain. The resulting flattening of emotions and grinding down of will power and self-concern is considered an improvement.
There Is Nothing to Fix with Electricity
ADHD is not a disease or a disorder, it is a collection of behaviors that disappoint or try the patience of teachers and parents. So-called symptoms or behaviors listed in the official diagnosis include the category inattention (fails to pay close attention to details, loses things, avoids difficult tasks, forgetful) and the category hyperactivity/impulsivity (fidgets, too often leaves seat, often “on the go,” talks excessively, interrupts, doesn’t like to wait his turn). In children labeled ADHD, there are no known physical causes for the behaviors.
Often, these children are totally normal kids who are the youngest in the class or a little immature. Others may be anxious or poorly brought up. Sometimes they are victims of a very poor diet. Sometimes they are being bullied or abused. They may have fallen behind and need solid teaching to catch up. Often school feels overwhelming.
The “causes” of these behaviors are infinite, but there is nothing wrong in the brains of boys and girls labeled ADHD. In my private practice, I guarantee parents that if their child’s behavior looks like ADHD, the child will start doing much better after two weeks of a combination of improved and consistent discipline, unconditional love, better nutrition and daily fun exercise. At the same time, some of these kids are “cured” overnight by transferring to a better classroom or school.
In my experience with relatively well-off and well-meaning parents, the so-called ADHD child often has a parent or parents who are afraid to do parenting. Parenting requires a belief in one’s moral authority, a consistent program for insisting on mutual respect, and lots of unconditional love.
No, there is nothing wrong in the brains of children diagnosed ADHD—until they are given drugs or have electrodes clamped to their foreheads. The moment that happens, a great deal begins to go wrong in their brains. Drugs and electrical stimulation are alien intruders that can only disrupt brain function, while proving very harmful long-term.
I asked Michael Cornwall, who first exposed and condemned the FDA approval of the Monarch, if he would add something to this report. He wrote:
“For almost 40 years practicing as a licensed child and adolescent therapist, I’ve witnessed and fought against the human rights abuses done to children by psychiatry, that Peter has so valiantly fought against like no other. Please join us now with the SPAC project to oppose the ever more Orwellian sanctioned harming of our innocent and dependent children by psychiatry and the FDA, while we also work to expand humane and compassionate alternative care for children, teens and families in need of help.”
Join Michael Cornwall and me to stop the FDA-approved electrical erosion of our children’s brains. Start by talking to friends and colleagues. Set up your own group to take actions. Research it; write about it.
Through our nonprofit International Center for the Study of Patient-Oriented Psychiatry (ICSPP.org), we are establishing a project called “Stop the Psychiatric Abuse of Children” or SPAC. Michael Cornwall is the Director. There will be lots more coming from us 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.