Showing 37 of 37 comments.
Nicely written and referenced response to the article in Australasian Psychiatry. Unfortunately, these major psychiatric journals are not just biased, they have deep conflicts of interest and can not be seriously expected to show much sympathy to survivors of the traumas and other iatrogenic harms caused by ECT or other psychiatric interventions that make big money and have cult-like worship.
Next time, it would probably be better to submit a critique in a more friendly journal, even if less high profile and even if it does not register a response from the original journal.
Please also see this archived article I wrote of cases of violence and death associated with ECT. Note the Trigger Warning.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and violence, death, suicide, and homicide
Thanks so much for your work, Connor. I’m still a little confused. There were multiple defendants listed. Did all of the defendants decide to settle, or is there still a trial pending for other defendants in this case?
Well done, John and all else pursuing this.
I skimmed the article, but will try to make time to read the whole thing later. Very disturbing.
One thought I have now is that somebody should report this information to Retraction Watch.
Amazing work. So glad that some attorneys are finally doing this.
Rest in peace, Matt. Thank you for bringing some extra light to this world.
Thanks for clarifying!
Kjetil, this is a great comment and I’m surprised no one except markps2 has yet commented similarly about how brain size does not necessarily reflect level of functioning. As you wrote, other researchers have found that the brain goes through a neural pruning process as it matures and I know that some studies have shown that people with higher grey matter in one part of the brain actually tend to have poorer cognition on some measures. Larger does not necessarily mean better. But psychiatry researchers often jump to conclusions.
Well written and moving. Thank you for your work, Emily.
I was really excited when I first heard of Lisa Pan’s work. I wish I had gotten to see a doctor like this who would test me for metabolic abnormalities long before I ever saw a psychiatrist.
Glad to have you with us, Eve. Brave of you to leave the system and start something new with us. Thank you and I look forward to hearing more.
Glad you found relief, Twilah. It’s unfortunate that psychiatric professionals are so quick to jump to a psychogenic diagnosis, like you pointed out.
Jarett, it was a pleasure to read that. Thank you for writing it, as another survivor of ECT and the whole psychiatric system.
Thanks so much for writing this, Phil. Left a comment on your personal blog also. I hope Jessica Gold learns from her naivete and her own limited perspective.
The first of my Examiner.com articles on ECT that I had linked in this article could not be saved, as the site shut down before I got notice. However, I just republished that article, which was originally entitled “Letter to Three Connecticut Politicians about Involuntary Electroshock.” The new title is “My Torture by ECT, Republished” and it now resides on my personal WordPress site.
I liked this citation of NIMH: “Scientists think that an imbalance in the complex, interrelated chemical reactions of the brain involving the neurotransmitters (substances that brain cells use to communicate with each other) dopamine and glutamate, and possibly others, plays a role in schizophrenia.”
This is similar to a current line of thought that, despite little evidence for the serotonin imbalance theory of depression, serotonin still “plays a role” in depression. It’s so vague that its practically unfalsifiable, and therefore unscientific by Karl Popper’s conception of science, as I understand it.
See the Demarcation problem and Falsifiability:
It’s like saying neurons play a role in depression or schizophrenia, so therefore the drugs must be fixing something if they cause neuronal changes… But wait, maybe those changes aren’t good after all.
I agree with Dave, although I see the point Nomadic is making. Many people become afraid to reveal they have suicidal thoughts, because of past experience with coercive psychiatry, and for people still in the system, it is a continuing risk to reveal those thoughts. But it sounded like Dave Cope is no longer being treated by psychiatrists, so he is no longer in danger of being locked up or forcibly drugged. Still somewhat of a risk, but a risk worth taking. Thanks for your story Dave. By the way, sent you a message thru Facebook.
I couldn’t find it.
Here’s something else you can tell your daughter and ex-wife.
Antidepressant makes bones weaker by slowing down new growth
By Andy Coghlan
New Scientist, 5 September 2016
Quote: “It’s a puzzling question,” says Patricia Ducy at Columbia University, New York. But her team have now found that giving mice fluoxetine – the active ingredient in Prozac – for six weeks causes them to lose bone mass.
Love the article. Thank you for calling them out on this Sera.
I don’t know who paid the lawyers, or if they were paid at all.
Level 3 isn’t stopping ECT from being used, but lowering the risk classification prevents the device manufacturers Mecta and Somatics from having to do PMA. See my earlier reply to zoriolus.
Hi, zoriolus. The significance is that if ECT devices are put into a lower risk category, then the device manufacturers probably will not need to do extensive testing through PMA. At least that’s my understanding. Here’s a quote from the 2011 FDA summary on ECT:
“Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) devices induce seizure by applying electricity to the scalp and are used “for treating severe psychiatric disturbances (e.g., severe depression).” See 21 CFR 882.5940. These devices were legally marketed in the United States prior to the Medical Devices Amendments of 1976. Although classified into Class III, the highest risk-based classification for devices, FDA has not yet established a requirement for premarket approval (PMA) to affirmatively demonstrate a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. ECT devices have instead been regulated through the premarket notification [510(k)] regulatory
pathway, which requires a showing of substantial equivalence to a legally marketed device and is usually reserved for intermediate and low risk devices.” (page 5)
Food and Drug Administration. (2011). FDA Executive Summary prepared for the January 27-28, 2011 meeting of the Neurological Devices Panel: Meeting to discuss the classification of electroconvulsive therapy devices (ECT). Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/NeurologicalDevicesPanel/UCM240933.pdf
Well said, Sage. Anger isn’t necessarily bad–it’s how it’s used that counts.
Some of my Examiner articles were saved to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine:
Also very important to my withdrawal was low-dose vitamin D and magnesium.
I was on Klonopin, the generic form, for several months. Slowly but steadily the addiction developed and tolerance and I had to take pills every few hours just to temporarily stave off debilitating anxiety attacks where I could barely stand up and felt like a heart attack. This led to an inpatient hospitalization with more incompetent medical professionals (including one psychiatrist who wanted to increase the dosage as a way of “treating” the addiction). They switched me cold turkey to hydroxyzine. The switch was hell for some days, but the hydroxyzine (Atarax, Visterol) eventually helped with the anxiety. I finally got off of it and it was much easier to withdraw from.
Congratulations, Naas. It’s a long hard road going on and coming off psychiatric medication, certainly an achievement to reflect on and feel pride in. Wishing you the best in everything.
Belated thank you. I added your novel to my To Read list on Goodreads.
This piece rings so true, as someone who’s lived through three inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations. Psychiatric professionals are on the whole authoritarian, highly biased, narrow-minded and there is very little freedom in psychiatric facilities. I too would rather spend time in prison than in a psychiatric ward again.
I found out that Examiner.com ceased operations July 2016, so the links to my articles there are now dead. I may republish some elsewhere.
Good idea. I think it’s definitely worthwhile for people to contact Amnesty International. Even just a short email linking to this article or other news about Garth.
The London branch email address is listed here
email: [email protected]
If they get enough emails, maybe they can help organize a protest or get another organization in the area to make a public protest.
Thanks for reading it!
One thing I want to add is I did find out within the past 2-3 years through blood testing that I have a chronic vitamin D deficiency, but that when I take too much of it, somehow it interferes with my medications–making me feel jittery and I would get headaches when I took the SSRI. So I take vitamin D everyday now, but I try not to take more than 100% daily value. I also take magnesium with it everyday now, and I found that made some of headaches and jitteriness go away. That’s a real “chemical imbalance” I found I have, through actual physical tests, unlike the unproven “serotonin imbalance” that SSRIs supposedly treat, which almost no one gets tested for, so there’s no hard evidence that most patients on SSRIs even have a serotonin imbalance.
Thanks for sharing that–most of us MIA readers know how psychiatric treatment can become an endless cycle or spiral. Sometimes I still feel really angry about all the system put me through and at the doctors. At this point, all I can do is live with it as long as I’m alive. DBT did help me to accept that some things are out of my control or understanding and I try to remember that sometimes the best response is to be good to myself, rather than constantly focusing on the resentment or the people that caused it. Speaking out like this and knowing I’m informing other people helps. But yeah, I still feel angry sometimes. Sometimes it’s debilitating. Sometimes it fuels me.
Please consider sending emails to the newspapers that published the stories on this girl. Tell them you are concerned about what is being done to her.
Irish Times health dept. address is [email protected]
Irish Examiner news desk address is [email protected]
Also, there was a personal account posted in an article years ago of a woman who said she went mute like that girl and was given forced ECT.
At age 16 I was raped. I suffered severe post-traumatic shock and was taken to a psych ward. I was in a non-verbal state and the psychiatrist upon admission misdiagnosed my condition as “catatonic schizophrenia.” After only four days of observation I was started on a course of 10 shock treatments – which in and of themselves were as traumatizing as the rape.”
Exactly. Words have power and using the term “treatment-resistant depression” sets the patient up for a cycle of endless treatments when they don’t work and makes a rationale for involuntary treatment. It puts the blame on something in the patient, rather than the treatment.