While most of the sting is gone, even now — almost sixty years on — I can’t get through a single day without thinking about shock treatment and the state hospital. I regularly have dreams or nightmares about being lost in a strange place and someone making me feel like dirt.
We have reached the point where we have to ask: Is psychiatry doing anything useful for society, or has it degenerated to an insatiable, high-cost and self-sustaining rentier gorging on the public purse? The Australian Productivity Commission is holding an enquiry into mental health; it is to be hoped that this will assist in the process of uncovering the truth.
Forty years after I had first been admitted to the hospital, I was ready to confront my past. So, I sent for my hospital records, and I read them. As an experienced clinician, I recognized immediately what the doctors hadn’t been able to see in 1960: my problem wasn’t ‘schizophrenia’ but PTSD, connected with incest.
Upon review of hundreds of the "informed" consent forms received from those suffering permanent cognitive impairment after receiving ECT, the overwhelming majority do not provide the patient with any form of disclosure that "brain damage is a risk that can potentially occur from ECT, whether performed properly or not."
Afraid of facing me in court, the state gave up entirely and a young man was freed from involuntary ECT treatment. It was a total victory. Meanwhile, the Psychiatric Industrial Complex is finding more subtle ways to inflict electrical energy upon the brains of children labeled with ADHD.
Think of all those women who have undergone or will undergo electroshock and suffer severe losses in memory, intelligence, special skills, creativity. Women too disabled by shock to pursue promising careers. Women who suddenly die after being shocked. Electroshock is torture, and informed consent in psychiatry is a myth and a lie.
In 1959, my mother suffered what people referred to as a nervous breakdown after my sister’s birth. I puzzled over why Mom never recovered, until I found Dad’s collection of medical records in my sister’s attic. How could anyone give a nursing mother with three small children so many drugs in such a short period of time?
Lou Reed’s “Kill Your Sons,” about his ECT as a 17-year-old, gives voice to an event that majorly radicalized him to distrust authorities. Lou’s talents enabled his rage over his ECT to be transformed into the kind of art that deeply touched society’s outcasts and victims of illegitimate authority. But such trauma often only destroys.
Through all the years that I was a mental patient, my parents were excellent advocates who constantly questioned what the docs were doing, even though my own faith in psychiatry was unwavering.... Amazingly, what cured me was not some type of “treatment,” but getting away from drugs and therapy.
A scientific understanding of electricity’s effects on the human body has only been around since the last half of the 20th century. If this understanding of electric shock and electrical injury was had in the first part of the 20th century, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) would likely never have been accepted by modern western medicine.
In an internet email discussion among a large group of supposedly enlightened mental health professionals, few came forward to outright condemn or ban ECT. One participant responded to my comments with, "It worries me how this debate gets so polarized." This refusal to say or to accept something polarizing is a hallmark of most so-called reformers in the field of mental health.
The importance of a remarkable new film, The Minds of Men, was underscored by otherwise inexplicable recent events surrounding government support of ECT. Without any testing or opportunity for public response, effective December 26 the FDA has approved ECT for infliction upon people with “treatment-resistant depression.”
The December 4 "grand rounds" at the Oregon Health and Science University consisted of a presentation on what they call "Interventional Psychiatry"—an interesting euphemism for Electroshock, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and the comeback street drug, Ketamine.
After spending the entire litigation vehemently denying that brain injury was even a possible result of ECT, Somatics, LLC has now issued a warning of "permanent brain damage" in its new risk disclosures. We think this makes the case of anyone who underwent ECT within the statute of limitations MUCH stronger.
This is a call for action against the horror euphemistically known as “electroconvulsive therapy.” At a time when society is finally making advances against ECT, a courageous 80-year-old shock survivor, Connie Neil, has decided to go on a hunger strike to try to stop the horror that was visited on her from continuing to be visited on others.
A major electroconvulsive therapy case that was on the eve of trial just settled to the satisfaction of the injured ECT patients and the DK Law Group, LLP. As an expert in the case I am pleased to report that this is a significant victory. The evidence secured has paved the way for more suits against ECT manufacturers that are on the way.
In March, 2018, the Court issued an Order denying class certification in the case filed against the manufacturers of ECT shock devices. Attorneys for the ECT victims strongly disagree with the Court's assessment, and have now petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to appeal the ruling denying class certification.
In The Other Mrs. Smith, Dr. Burstow chose to use the fiction format, presumably because she felt it was the best way for readers to understand what it is like to experience electroshock and deal with the aftermath of massive memory loss. In this she succeeds spectacularly.
Due to the thickness of the scalp and skull, transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) is incapable of targeting networks of neurons in the brain.
A fictional shock survivor was the narrator of my novel, but her memory loss was such that she did not know huge sections of the story she was trying to tell. In finding solutions to such problems, I came to take in not only the extent of the injury but the sheer ingenuity of the daily work that shock survivors have to do to manage and inject meaning back into their lives.
From The Vancouver Sun: Bonnie Burstow's recently released book The Other Mrs. Smith is not only an accurate portrayal of the horrific consequences of ECT but...
In September of 2017, DK Law Group, LLP filed a Class Action Complaint against the manufacturers of ECT shock devices, alleging that they caused injury to patients by withholding from the FDA data relating to serious iatrogenic brain injuries resulting from ECT. The following developments have taken place since then.
Essentially what Choy et al are seeking in their editorial is the total suppression of information concerning the harmful and often permanent effects of high voltage electric shocks to the brain, thus implying that the very large number of individuals who report more extensive and persistent damage are not worth listening to.
As a movement strategy, electroshock must be clearly framed and understood as a blatant human rights violation — a profound and devastating crime against people’s health and lives. Here are three possible action proposals in our continuing struggle to abolish electroshock.
Electroshock survivor Nancy Rubstein and professor, author, and antipsychiatry theorist Dr. Bonnie Burstow were recently interviewed for CTV News Channel about Dr. Burstow's new book, The...