Critical Psychiatry Textbook Chapter 12: Electroshock

37
1872

Editor’s Note: Over the next several months, Mad in America is publishing a serialized version of Peter Gøtzsche’s book, Critical Psychiatry Textbook. In this blog, he discusses the poor body of research for the efficacy of ECT and the common effect of amnesia, which indicates brain damage. Each Monday, a new section of the book is published, and all chapters are archived here.

Electroshock, also called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), was highly praised in the textbooks. One book recommended ECT or pulsating electromagnetic fields (PEMF) for treatment-resistant depression,16:275 and another book noted that ECT must always be considered for this condition.17:364

3D illustration of anatomic figure lying down with electric shock through its brainIt was claimed that ECT stimulates the formation of new neurons and the maintenance of the dendrite tree,16:558 and the development of new neurons in hippocampus.17:746 A third book noted that no acute or permanent brain damage had been demonstrated in the many scanning studies, and that a few studies suggest that the neurogenesis in the hippocampus increases.18:245

The truth is that the brain reacts to harm by producing new neurons.11 A harmful effect was therefore praised as being beneficial, which is common in psychiatry. There were no references.

One book claimed that it has not been possible to detect brain damage; that retrograde amnesia is difficult to interpret and difficult to distinguish from problems triggered by the disease; that some studies suggest a slight memory loss a year after ECT whereas other studies do not find it; and that long-term symptoms experienced by the patients after ECT are extremely rare and not with certainty related to it.17:745 By using the word “experienced,” the author downgraded what the patients tell their psychiatrists about the harms of ECT.

In another book, the same author claimed that brain damage has never been diagnosed after ECT while noting that almost all patients get amnestic symptoms in a treatment series.16-556 This is full-blown cognitive dissonance. If amnesia after ECT is not a sign of brain damage, what is it then? How can anyone argue this way? People who become amnestic after a concussion are told it is because they had a brain damage.

The author explained that the anterograde amnesia recovers two weeks later while retrograde amnesia is more uncertain. He noted that some studies suggest a slight memory loss 6-12 months later whereas prolonged experiences of inconveniences are extremely rare. This author, a professor of psychiatry, ignored the facts when asking if the problems were due to ECT or the disorder.

Other authors also denied the facts. They noted that, rarely, a few patients experience “subjective inconveniences” in the form of lacunas in retrograde memory and claimed that it is difficult to judge if they are harms of ECT because patients with severe depression also often have such lacunas.18:244

The memory problems are not just subjective (which is the standard script: Blame the victim, not the treatments); they have been verified in numerous studies.

Elsewhere in this book, the authors wrote about a short-term memory dysfunction, and that thorough studies with imaging methods had not shown damage to the nerve tissue.18:231

This is just incredible. ECT causes memory loss in most patients573-575 and permanent memory loss in some patients, which means irreversible brain damage.96,121 ECT furthermore kills some patients,573 which means that every single brain cell is dead.

The organised denial of the harms caused by ECT was astounding. My translation of the above is: We psychiatrists do not worry about the memory problems we cause; the patients already had memory problems before we electroshocked them; the memory problems patients tell us about are not real (only “subjective”); and we need not pay attention to what the patients tell us anyway because they are mentally ill. In my view, psychiatrists are too dangerous to have around.

The descriptions of what ECT does to people are among the most dishonest I encountered when reading the five textbooks, and this also applies to the postulated benefit. We are told that ECT is extremely effective against severe depression;18:231 and that it can be lifesaving.18:244 This agrees poorly with the information in the same book that, usually, 8-16 shocks are given.18:244 ECT is also used in patients with mania to prevent delirium acutum.18:114

It was claimed that 80% of patients with affective disorders respond to ECT,17:360 but there was no control group and no reference.

Here is an account of the facts.7:207 In the Cochrane review of ECT for patients with schizophrenia, which is from 2005,576 more people improved on ECT than on placebo or sham ECT, risk ratio 0.76 (0.59 to 0.98), but this finding is unreliable. It was barely statistically significant; the trials were small (only 392 patients in 10 trials); the larger the trial, the smaller the effect, which suggests that negative trials exist that haven’t been published; and the authors only excluded trials from their review if more than 50% of the patients were lost to follow-up, which is far too generous. Other researchers have concluded that all the sham ECT trials are grossly flawed.577

The Cochrane authors reported that, using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, ECT was better than sham ECT, but there were only 52 patients in the analysis, and we have no idea how many patients or data that were missing or why. Further, the difference was only 6 on a scale that goes to 126, which is not a clinically relevant effect (see Chapter 7, Part One about a similar lack of a relevant effect of psychosis pills).

Even more worrying, ECT was considerably less effective than psychosis pills, e.g. twice as many patients weren’t improved in the ECT group, risk ratio 2.18 (1.31 to 3.63).

The authors didn’t draw firm conclusions about any short-term benefit, and there was no evidence for a long-term benefit.

A 2003 review found that ECT was more effective than simulated ECT for depression (6 trials, 256 patients, effect size -0.91 (-1.27 to -0.54), corresponding to a Hamilton score difference of 10, and ECT was also better than drugs (18 trials, 1,144 patients, effect size -0·80 (-1.29 to -0.29).578 This looks impressive, but these are short-term effects; the quality of the trials was poor; most trials were small; the results would likely change materially if a few neutral studies were identified; the trials rarely used outcomes relevant for clinical practice; and the data suggested that ECT caused cortical atrophy in the brain. The authors advised that the trade-off between making ECT optimally effective in terms of amelioration of depressive symptoms and limiting the cognitive impairment should be considered.

Psychiatric researchers often avoid saying in plain language what they found and what it means, as it would be threatening to the psychiatric guild. They should have said that it is uncertain if ECT for depression does more good than harm, particularly as it caused brain damage and as only short-term studies were evaluated. Systematic reviews have failed to find benefits beyond the treatment period, both for schizophrenia and for depression.573,578

Many psychiatrists believe ECT can be life-saving, but there are no reliable data in support of this belief,573,578 whereas we know for sure that ECT can be deadly. A systematic review found a death rate of about 1 per 1000,573 which is 10 times higher than what the American Psychiatric Association says. When I lectured in Brisbane in 2015, a mother told me that the psychiatrists killed her son with ECT but they resuscitated him. When he woke up, he had severe burns and the next two to three months he couldn’t say anything people could understand. He is permanently brain damaged and his social skills are very poor; he cannot live on his own.

In 2003, the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists’ fact sheet stated that more than 80% of depressed patients respond well to ECT and that memory loss is not clinically important.575 We do not ask a hairdresser if we need a haircut. The patients disagreed and the lowest satisfaction levels were obtained in studies led by patients rather than by psychiatrists.

If we want to know the truth about psychiatric drugs and electroshock, we need to listen to the patients and not to the psychiatrists.121 One Danish patient couldn’t remember even the commonest things, like the name of the Danish capital, after she was electroshocked.121 She was permanently brain damaged by electroshocks she should never have received because her problem was that she had been sexually abused as a child. She didn’t have any psychiatric disorder. Her book is a frightening account of what is wrong with psychiatry.121

Studies of ECT using routine neuropsychological tests have concluded that there is no evidence of persistent memory loss, but what is measured is typically the ability to form new memories after treatment (anterograde memory). Reports by patients of memory loss are about the erasing of autobiographical memories, or retrograde amnesia, and they are damning.575 With a strict definition of memory loss, between 29% and 55% of the patients are affected. With looser criteria, the range goes from 51% to 79%.

Other studies also show that ECT may cause permanent brain damage.573 In the 1940s, it was acknowledged that ECT “works” because it causes brain damage and memory deficits, and autopsy studies consistently found brain damage, including necrosis.

It is blatantly dishonest to say, as the psychiatrists who authored a Cochrane review of depressed elderly did,579 that, “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that ECT causes any kind of brain damage, although temporary cognitive impairment is frequently reported” and that “ECT seems to be a safe procedure”.

The 2010 official guidance for general practitioners in Denmark on depression was even worse. It stated that, “Many have an unfounded fear of ECT treatment, although there is no evidence that the treatment causes brain damage; in fact, there is strong evidence that new nerve cells are formed in response to treatment.”580

ECT “works” by making people confused and by destroying their memories, which are what define us as humans, but doctors describe this as positive. They also described lobotomy and the many other harmful treatments they used in the past as positive.1

As illustrated by the case in Brisbane, what happens in practice is far from what should happen. This has been studied systematically. Repeated audits by the Royal College of Psychiatrists showed that many hospital trusts failed to adhere to the college’s standards.575 One audit found that only a third of ECT clinics met the standards.578 There are also huge variations in clinical practice and in rates of usage.573,575,578

In Denmark, forced treatment with ECT quadrupled in just seven years in the 1990s, but forced treatment is immensely unpleasant; the patients are very scared; it often elicits colossal bitterness and anger; and it is perceived by the patients as a breach of trust.581

There is a very moving documentary about Mette Askov, a Danish nurse who had heard voices since she was eight years old and was a psychiatric patient for 15 years.582 She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and received vast amounts of medicine, 150 electroshocks and a disability living allowance. She was stigmatised and surrounded by prejudice but after she reclaimed her own life and left psychiatry, she achieved some of her greatest goals. Her story illustrates so well what the psychiatrists’ abuse of forced treatments lead to. Even when they so clearly don’t work, the psychiatrists continue to use them.

I have heard many stories where psychiatrists describe miraculous improvements and grateful patients. I was once asked at a meeting after my lecture about drugs what my view was about a woman who was so depressed that she could hardly be contacted but asked for a glass of water after an electroshock.8:87 I said that since this was an anecdote, I would reply with another anecdote. I examined a newly admitted man, an unconscious alcoholic, and as I needed to rule out meningitis, I tried to insert a needle in his back to tap cerebrospinal fluid for microscopy and culture. It was very difficult to get in and I hit his bone several times. All of a sudden, the drunkard exclaimed loudly: “Bloody hell, stop stinging me in the back!” Had I caused a miracle with my needle and cured the guy? No. Odd things happen all the time in healthcare. Could I have woken up the deeply depressed woman with my needle? Who knows, but maybe?

Some psychiatrists I have met have never used electroshock. This barbaric treatment should be made illegal, just as lobotomies were. In particular, no one should be forced to get electroshocks against their will.

***

To see the list of all references cited, click here.

***

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.

***

Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.

37 COMMENTS

  1. psychiatrists make a ECT by force. it takes 120 volts to light a light bulb. 420 volt electricity is supplied at ECT. this burn a brain.this also make a amnesia. this is not a cure. this is torture. psychiatrists in turkey tortured a people into psychiatry clinic. the people made a ECT for live down. the whole world is silent because psychiatrists make a ECT weak people.if psychiatrists make a ECT to a strong person psychiatrists know that what will happen. psychiatrists were making lobotomy. ECT=lobotomy=anti psychotics=anti depressant

    Report comment

  2. I think your critique is well-research and thought-out. However, there are human beings in this world who received electroconvulsive therapy and went on to live productive, creative lives, and contribute to the world in many ways. Is there some way to include them so as not to stigmatize, demean, subject to discounting, and further damage those who have received ECT, offen against their will?

    Report comment

    • I find this comment odd as I do not find the blog stigmatising of those who have had ECT. It clearly criticises the treatment, not the patients. It is saying the proceedure causes more harm than good. Such arguments are common in medicine, especially in psychiatry. I am therefore greatful that people have received ECT and gone onto have productive lives, I know such people and of such people but that does not take away from the argument that it causes more harm than good.

      Report comment

    • What is the percentage of ECT patients who went on to live “productive, creatives lives” compared to the percentage of those who have suffered irreversible physical or emotional trauma as a result of this treatment? By criticizing ECT, one does not stigmatize or demean the persons who undergo it, but rather the duplicitous or fraudulent “clinicians” who deliberately downplay or conceal its documented harm.

      Report comment

    • It’s the difference between the aggreate and the single apparently sucessfull case. The long term injuries to long term memory even down to childhood in an adult are not reported nor meassured by practicioners of psychiatry nor ECT. They admit their impossibility to quantify such harm in individual cases, let alone the aggregate.

      There is a dramatic first legal case reviewed here at MIA a few weeks ago. The accompanying documentation from the legal firm’s web page in that case is an eye opener, even if technical.

      When it comes to effectivenes RCTs and their methanalysis are what counts, not single case reports.

      When harms, damages, bad outcomes, complications of treatments are assessed single cases, SMALL groups of them, in most of medicine are enought to withdraw from the market the treatment.

      Harms and benefits are assessed differently once a product or treatment is on the market.

      Report comment

      • I was 17 when they shocked me the first 12 times . I was then shocked more and more and more in my early twenties. I’ve heard your brain doesn’t stop developing until you’re 25. I am guessing I was probably shocked a total of 50 or more individual Times by then. But I really don’t remember exactly how many series I had before they decided to do maintenance ECT once a month. And that might have lasted after I turned 25.
        I’m 57 now.
        The other day someone told me that “ECT is illegal now. Thank goodness!”

        I just laughed. Really hard.

        Report comment

        • I’m so sorry, Blu.

          I usually get so angry when people make ignorant comments like that. I admire you for being able to laugh.

          The prevailing ignorance about ECT is astounding. I’ve heard both, “they stopped doing ECT 50 years ago” and “They still do it but it’s completely different than how they used to do it. Now they only shock one side so there’s no memory loss.”. I guess people just believe the thing that makes them feel comfortable with the world around them.

          Report comment

  3. psychiatrists make a ECT by force. it takes 120 volts to light a light bulb. 420 volt electricity is supplied at ECT. this burn a brain.this also make a amnesia. this is not a cure. this is torture. psychiatrists in turkey tortured a people into psychiatry clinic. psychiatrists made a ECT that person for cause to forget torture which lived. the whole world is silent because psychiatrists make a ECT weak people.if psychiatrists make a ECT to a strong person psychiatrists know that what will happen. psychiatrists were making lobotomy. ECT=lobotomy=anti psychotics=anti depressant

    Report comment

  4. In the U.S., the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which is mandated by law to protect the public from dangerous drugs and medical devices, said this: “…The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.” (21 CFR 882.5940 (b)(1)(ix)(G)). In addition, a large number of former ECT patients report long-term damage to their memory and cognition. Some are so severely damaged that they cannot resume their former educational or vocational pursuits, or they can only do so handicapped by impairments. The number of those claiming damage from ECT has not been studied even after ECT has been in use over 80-years (see: Sturman, M., The Shady World of Shock Treatment, “Mad in America,” May 24, 2022). This country is certainly no stranger to medical fraud. Currently, we are experiencing an epidemic of drug addiction and drug deaths in large part due to false advertising and the overselling of prescription opioid pain medications. Perhaps the worst medical fraud in our history was the false advertising by tobacco manufacturers that their products were safe when they were not. Millions have died as a result. As the author of the above article points out, up to date only small and unreliable studies have been done on the safety of ECT. When will the FDA stop catering to the big money interests of ECT device manufacturers and ECT doctors and order the studies necessary to determine how safe and effective ECT really is? Or do we have to endure endangering even more ECT patients when this is wholly unnecessary if the FDA would act?

    Report comment

    • Michael,

      These are all questions I would like to see answered as well. Another question I have is, how many people who were put on SSRIs, SNRIs, and all of the other categories of psychiatric drugs which are now known to be both ineffective and highly risky (and which have the potential to cause severe agitation/akathisia/suicidality)…were then told, when their conditions get worse, that they had “treatment resistance” and thus good “candidates” for ECT treatment?

      This is one of the arguments put forth by ECT apologists: “We had to do something and the patient *hadn’t responded to medication*”. Now we know that the majority of people who have emotional pain “don’t respond” to psych drugs…but for decades, these people were considered to be, and treated as, outliers.

      This is what happened to me. After 6 years of drugging from a psychiatrist who didn’t keep any records, I was sent to his colleague who dealt with “treatment resistance” and who immediately, within minutes of my initial appointment, recommended ECT. He denied that it would cause memory issues when I raised that as a concern. Turns out it did cause memory issues. I wound up having to apply for disability afterward.

      Report comment

        • Darkly funy, I got the impression with somewhat less than half the liver you can’t survive. And yeah it does grow back enough to get someone out of survival mode.

          Anecdote: I once was in a surgery with a surgeon that cut me trying to tell me to move my instrument back!. Poor hand-eye-brain coordination. That same surgeon provoked in another surgery a vascular damage. The bragadocious endgamer surgeon came, and he, in the hurry and frustration to close the leak, closed the whole vascular apparatus of the patient’s liver’s, with a single “deep” blind suture.
          On ultrasound, a few days later the liver was like marble, even the radiologist, my goddly figure, was speechless…
          True anecdote. Aparently I didn’t got hepatitis nor HIV, but they never tested me then, guess liability.
          In full disclosure it was a tough surgery, previous episodes of inflamation, lots of scar.
          Several of us took turns to stop the leak below the bleed with our fingers, those vessels are so small, the big one is a little wider than a cm, the thumb print is more than wide…

          Report comment

      • Yeah :/. “Guess I can’t have my kidney back?”

        But then, in their unerring wisdom, after the ECT and the change of my main Dx from “treatment resistant depression” to borderline, and after the psychiatrist explained that the ECT didn’t work because I was actually not depressed but instead borderline, and ECT was for depressed people, and they added antipsychotics (which really no attempt at logic there. They never tried to argue that I was psychotic. They were pretty up-front that the anti-psychotics were because they didn’t like me and my anger and wanted me to just shut up about everything…although one psychiatrist I encountered did firmly believe – and even did a presentation on it – that Abilify would heal the thing in my brain that made me a borderline), They kept me on antidepressants.

        I tried to bring it up, why do you still have me on antidepressants when you said that I’m not depressed because the ECT would have worked if I was depressed but the ECT didn’t work because I actually have borderline but now you have me on antidepressants still, which is very confusing…but I could never get straight answers out of them. The more I pressed for answers, the more labels got added: non-compliant, lacking awareness, confrontational, blah blah blah.

        They’re kind of like children, really, in the way they can come up with more and more leaps of logic to “explain” things in such a way that it doesn’t upset their world view, no matter how detached the explanations are from actually reality.

        Maybe they were mad because I still made more sense than they did even with the brain damage they’d caused.

        Report comment

  5. 1) Brain: I would like Dr Gøtzsche to state some science in his future articles of ECT, of the normal voltages in the brain.
    How normal brain voltages have to be amplified thousands of times to get a measurable reading in an EEG (electroencephalogram) , and the voltages that are applied in ECT.

    2) Heart: Secondly , the rate of asystole (heart stopping) from receiving ECT.
    KILLING THE PATIENT.

    “The authors prospectively investigated the incidence of asystole (absence of heartbeat for 5 seconds) in elderly patients receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at a university-based geriatric psychiatry unit. In all, 65.8% of patients experienced asystole at some time during their course of ECT” authors Jeremy Burd, M.D. and Paul Kettl, M.D.

    If the heart is stopped and you inject adrenaline to get the heart going again, how is the adrenaline going to get to the unbeating heart?

    3) A third overlooked topic are the ethics of the anesthesiologist who would take a living healthy person, and perhaps kill their patient in cooperation with the doctor giving ECT.

    Report comment

  6. The usual there is no evidence for damage is usually the usual we haven’t searched for it. And when we usually found it we usually blame it on something else, or usually change the procedure in such a way that previous findings, without usually searching further can be usually dismised.

    Which I think describe ECT accurately enough except that, following PG, psychiatrists really do not search properly for the damage caused by ECT as clearly proven to my mind even from the sole testimonials related in the source material for:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/08/partial-win-ect-justice/

    The case narrated by PG from a lecture encounter sounds like a scene from the movie “the Green Mile”, kinda somehow.

    And the omission of stating the uncertainty of benefit versus harm in ECT for depression given that the publication of the articles is biased towards more benefit and less harms, in my experience as a retired practitioner, not of psychiatry, does point to it being more harmfull than beneficial. Precisely because research that shows no benefit is not published. And because research that shows its harms is not published either.

    A full record of unpublished and published resarch, should show that it is more harmfull than beneficial. And even now, as PG showed it points to more harm than good in the aggregate of patients.

    So ECT should be abolished to prevent public harm, constituted by individuals, even if it appears to be beneficial in single cases. That, as PG has showed seem to be at best transitory with no evidence of long term benefit, in the published research, not on the testimonials.

    Long term benefit which I imagine if it where there in the research it would have been published. But given it’s most likely not favorable to the guild, it will probably not get published.

    Unless the guild conjures the typical research to back up it’s time and again proven at least false allegations. And in the next months/years another grandiose paper tries to do that.

    But the case of ECT might be too difficult or expensive to produce a single paper as the STAR*D as propaganda.

    Report comment

  7. Anecdotal evidence of improvement in medicine was frowned upon even 30yrs ago.

    Anecdotal evidence of harm was valuable and did change practice among physicians and nurses even 30yrs ago.

    For those who tried to perfect their theraputics, the science of treatment, some 30yrs ago, empirical treatments were suspicious. Those who used treatments that lacked a valid, proven, mechanism of action were labelled as symptom treaters (symptomatologist was a pejorative term), i.e. physicians who knew no better. The mythical “we do not know how it works, but it works”.

    In those days there was a culture of mechanism of action before using a treatment, in my experience. But it was lost over the ensuing expansion of pharma. Psychiatry was never ever any better than “knew no better”.

    The labeling of “knew no better” physician, symptomatologist, came because those practitioners were not competent or interested in understanding how a drug works. Most drugs had a mechanism of action. Now, it is less and less the case: the mechanism of action is not even published even if its known where a medication binds to the cells in the body…

    Over those 30yrs medicine leaned to the “know no better”, psychiatry never departed from…

    And in its informal logical form, as an argument, is no different from a miraculous cure. And around the world miracle cures are banned from being advertised, promoted or used in part because of it’s harmfull effects.

    In other pieces of law are forbidden because it exploits the “ignorance”, “need” or “superstition” of the public, in general, no specific individual damaged is/was required to be unlawful.

    Report comment

  8. ECT is a perfect example of how the whole system operates. The word “therapy” is in the name. But if you think about it, it’s not really therapy, the same way the mental health system isn’t really about “help”. (We’re already surrounded by double think that I, for one, hardly ever notice. Another one, when a person can’t take care of themselves anymore, can’t live independently, etc, they are put in a “home.”
    But really, they’re put in a facility. They’re taken out of their home.)

    Most people wouldn’t consider putting electricity through someone’s brain “therapeutic” and it is only the word of elite psychiatrists who’ve convinced people (unless, worse, no one actually believes it’s helpful or would choose it for themselves and they have other reasons for pretending to believe the psychiatrists who promote it) that it’s “often lifesaving” and “a last resort” (the psychiatrist who recommended ECT to me did so the very first time I met him. He did so without having any records of prior treatment, since his colleague who referred me to him hadn’t kept any records. At the time that I met him – in that initial appointment – I was working full time, close to completing a master’s degree, and a mother of one. The doctor knew almost nothing about me and yet there he was, recommending psychiatry’s “last resort” treatment (was lobotomy their last resort treatment before it was banned?)

    They also say, “it’s our best treatment.”. It’s “our most effective treatment”. Outside of psychiatry, this is called a lie. Or, if it’s true, what does that say about their other treatments, if they’re all less successful than ECT?

    And of course, then blame the patients for all the damage. That’s what they’re there for.

    Report comment

    • And probably without the usual clinical, imaging or laboratory studies that should be done, in an individualized maner, for any person/patient that is going into anesthesia, sedation, muscle blockage, etc. Which lends more weight to the at least negligence claims, which is the least worse term that to me applies to ECT.

      Report comment

      • Nope, no imaging, no tests, no records. (If he had ordered a blood test, he would have discovered that I was suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
        This Dr decided within the first 15 minutes of my initial appointment (in his well appointed, beautifully decorated outpatient office), that I was “a good candidate for ECT”. If I had had one person to go to at that time in my life, one real friend or family member who cared about me, I probably would have said no because they would have seen the ridiculousness of it. But I had no one and I was under so much pressure, being threatened with being fired, being threatened with all kinds of things, no support from anywhere and just a chorus of ” listen to your doctors!!!” And I was already a walking mess with brain damage after 6 years of drugging by his friend and colleague.

        And then the real hell began.

        Report comment

  9. I am curious what is known about any forced administration of electroshock to very young children in the early 60s for supposedly treating depression.

    Have there been other people who have remembered later in their lives this occurring?

    Recently I have become aware of memories and then also the visceral re-experiencing of the duration of electric shock itself, during I think a release of trapped trauma energy, that leads me to believe I might have been electroshocked as a very young child, maybe around 4 years old in the early 60s.

    Both my parents were violent narcissistic sadistic people and we had recently left my grandmother’s home who I was very close to and thought of as a mother.

    I do know I was extremely upset when we moved and understandably very terrified to be alone and isolated with my parents, although there were some younger siblings as well.

    I believe I was understandably extremely depressed and likely very insistent that I wanted to go back to my grandmother’s. I think especially my father, It was his mother, would have been very afraid of what I would tell his mother he had been doing. I don’t believe his violence was so visible when we were living with them. Or my grandmother being around buffered my experience of it I was very young.

    I’m guessing someone told them that would help me forget about my grandmother and cure my depression. And for my father it would have been advantageous to break my connection with my grandmother.
    My mother was extremely unstable and before she was married. I know she had a various treatments including probably electric shock. So they would have been familiar with that possibility.

    My fragmented reacquired memories are of me being taken somewhere asking where we were going me being told I was going to my grandmother’s but then we got to the place and I knew that wasn’t right and then some memories of being restrained and asking what why they were doing that and and starting to panic and asking what was going on etc. I have no memories of what was said….

    And always when I I have thought back about my relationship with my grandmother there was a break in the connection. Although some part of me also experienced a very strong connection but I couldn’t feel it anymore. This has been a huge loss for me and no doubt for my grandmother at the time.

    We would visit my grandmother at times and in thinking back it is very strange that someone you thought of as your mother, and you have no anger toward, would not elicit in you any feelings when in their presence. Even though they would look at you clearly with pure love in their eyes. And you have a great capacity for loving others.

    My grandmother was married to a cold sadistic narcissistic person and suffered from severe depression light in her life and was repeatedly electric shocked as well as given a lot of medication. Even though the problem really was she was trapped in a relationship with a very brutally cold mean person.

    Report comment

LEAVE A REPLY