Duty to Warn
By Gary G. Kohls, MD
Iconic Image from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
A couple of days ago I wrote to an internet acquaintance who had mentioned that a severely depressed friend of hers was at the end of her ropes after failing to improve with a recent series of electroconvulsant therapy (ECT), something that had helped in the past. The following is part of my response:
In response to your testimony about the person who had a temporary improvement from a series of ECT “therapy” sessions (AKA, “sub-lethal electrocutions of the brain that reliably produces seizures and coma”).
ECT is usually administered daily for a week or two. It is important to understand that electroshock psychiatrists can easily get rich if they have enough desperate or hopeless, medication-intoxicated patients in their practice who are drug-treatment “failures”. ECT is usually only recommend when every imaginable, potentially cocktail of neurotoxic or psychotoxic psych drugs has been tried and failed (or actually made the patient worse).
The variety of the cocktail combinations of the hundreds of different psychiatric drugs and doses approaches infinity, and none of the combinations has ever been tested for safety or efficacy (either short-term or long-term) even in rat labs! The experimentation with different combinations of psychiatric drugs is pharmacology at its worst. But the iatrogenic damage (iatrogenic means “an illness caused by a physician or a drug prescribed by a physician”) done to an innocent, trusting patient will hardly ever be proven in a court of law – only partly because lawyers who will take such cases are so rare, especially in an area where a lawyer’s livelihood depends on not offending the prestigious health care community.
Sadly, there are also close to zero psychiatrists who would consider going through the time-consuming effort of gradually and systematically eliminating potentially neurotoxic and psychotoxic drugs that might actually be making their psychiatric patients worse. To spend valuable clinic time trying to eliminate neurotoxic and neurotransmitter-depleting drugs would be akin to admitting that the patient might have an iatrogenic illness, and that seems to be a taboo subject.
Unfortunately, most physicians are not trained at safely helping to get their patients off potentially toxic drugs or admitting that the prescribed drugs could be poisonous and disease-producing. Physicians are, however, very good at putting their patients on drugs. As I have written many times in this column, it only takes 2 minutes to write a prescription, but it takes 20 minutes to NOT write a prescription.
ECT typically adversely affects both short-term and long-term memory (often permanently destroying it!), so that some of any perceived temporary “improvement” occurs because the patient may no longer remember the traumatizing interpersonal/sexual/social/psychological/spiritual conflicts that previously made them feel sad, nervous, depressed, anxious or hopeless.
Studies have shown that many physicians reach for their prescription pad within minutes of most clinic encounters. Knowing that time is money, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know which of the “two-or-twenty-minute” options is promoted by medical clinic administrators or the many profit-making sectors of Big Medicine, Big Psychiatry and Big Pharma.
The excerpts below come from a vitally-important article that most electroshock psychiatrists can’t bring themselves to read, much less acknowledge or understand, and that closed-mindedness also may include the physicians who refer patients for ECT after the experimental trials with drug cocktails have failed.
The piece was written by Leonard Roy Frank a “psychiatric survivor” (google the term) who lived in San Francisco until his death in 2015. Frank was also an electroshock/insulin coma survivor, a long-time activist for human rights, and an editor/writer.
In 1962, after finishing college, his alarmed parents found him living a hippie/vegetarian/meditative alternative life-style in California and, “logically” assuming that he was mentally ill, committed him – against his well – to psychiatric facilities where he was mis-diagnosed as schizophrenic. Frank somehow survived the large number of insulin shock/coma treatments that were followed by the “new and improved” electroshock treatments. He lost his memory but retained his intellectual ability to relearn what he had lost.
In 1974, after he recovered from those diagnostic and therapeutic misadventures, he co-founded the Network Against Psychiatric Assault (NAPA). He edited The History of Shock Treatment (self-published) in 1978 and wrote the Electroshock Quotationary.
A major part of the following article is based on his testimony on behalf of Support Coalition International at a public hearing on the dangers of ECT conducted by the Mental Health Committee of the New York State Assembly in Manhattan on May 18, 2001. Frank was deeply involved in MindFreedom International and often picketed the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meetings.
The story of Frank’s life is summarized at: http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/the-journey-of-transformation/.
If the Brain Is a Terrible Thing to Damage, Why Do Psychiatrists Electroshock People?
By Leonard Roy Frank (2001)
For more information, see: http://www.ect.org/news/newyork/franktest.html
“Electroshock is psychiatry’s way of burying its mistakes without killing the patients.” –Leonard Roy Frank
Electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive “treatment” or electroshock “treatment” [ECT or EST]) is one of psychiatry’s physical methods for ”treating” people diagnosed as “mentally ill.” The technique as presently used involves the administration of anesthetic and muscle-relaxant drugs prior to applying 100 to 400 volts of electricity for .05 to 4 seconds to the brain thereby triggering a grand-mal convulsion lasting from 30 and 60 seconds.
The convulsion is followed by a coma, usually lasting a few minutes, after which the subject awakens to experience a number of the following effects: fear, confusion, disorientation, amnesia, apathy (“emotional blunting”), dizziness, headache, mental dullness, nausea, muscle ache, physical weakness, and delirium. Most of these subside after a few hours, but amnesia, apathy, learning difficulties, and loss of creativity, drive, and energy may last for weeks or months. In many instances they are in some measure permanent. The intensity, number, and spacing of the individual electroshocks in a series greatly influence the severity and persistence of these effects.
Surveys indicate that two-thirds of those undergoing ECT today are women and that upwards of half are 60 years of age and older. Reports of ECT use on individuals as old as 102 (Alexopoulos, 1989) and as young as 34 months (Bender, 1955) have appeared in the professional literature. For people diagnosed with “depression,” the group most commonly electroshocked, an ECT series usually consists of 6 to 12 individual electroshocks administered three times a week on an inpatient basis. For people diagnosed with “manic-depression” (also called “bipolar disorder”), a series may consist of as many 20 seizures usually administered at the same rate but sometimes given daily. For people diagnosed with “schizophrenia,” as many as 35 electroshocks may be administered in a single series. More