During the May 2013 annual conference of the American Psychiatric Association, APA, a study was presented, alleging that Electroconvulsive Therapy, ECT, (formerly known as Electroshock) for adolescents “is a safe, reasonably well-tolerated, and effective treatment.”
The rap artist Chill E.B. is bringing the message of freedom from abuse to the masses, in his latest video. One of the rappers main causes is the group CCHR.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives, and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.
A new Scottish study hailing the wonders of electroshock treatment has provided yet another lame theory about how this violent therapy might “work.” And while the press seem content to robotically reiterate this bogus study, we’d like to point out the actual facts.
Professor Ian Reid from the University of Aberdeen, and colleagues claim that ECT works by “turning down” an overactive connection between areas of the brain causing depression. Incredibly, the authors claim electric shock may restore the brain’s natural chemical balance. This logic is so moronic we’re not sure where to start. First consider the fact that there is no proof that mental distress is due to a “chemical imbalance.” That theory was an invention of the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry and has never been proven. In fact, “leading” psychiatrists on National Public Radio recently admitted that the “chemical imbalance in the brain” theory is a fraud, and that pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists invented it to market Prozac. Another study that revealed that for 13 years media reported psychiatrists’ “discoveries” of a genetic/neurological cause of mental problems, none of which was subsequently proven.
The Aberdeen findings are just more of the same hype: “emerging” theory, “may” constitute a biological marker, they’ve found a “potential” therapeutic target in the brain. And the all-telling: “It is tempting to speculate that ECT might act to rebalance” specific brain activity “but the data presented here cannot confirm or refute this notion.” [Emphasis added] Let’s look more closely at what doesn’t get reported in the media:
I first took a close look at treatments for mental illness 15 years ago while researching an article for Scientific American. At the time, sales of a new class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI’s, were booming. The first SSRI, Prozac, had quickly become the most widely prescribed drug in the world. Many psychiatrists, notably Peter D. Kramer, author of the best seller Listening to Prozac, touted SSRI’s as a revolutionary advance in the treatment of mental illness. Prozac, Kramer said in a phrase that I hope now haunts him, could make patients “better than well.”
Clinical trials told a different story. SSRI’s are no more effective than two older classes of antidepressants, tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. What was even more surprising to me—given the rave reviews Prozac had received from Kramer and others—was that antidepressants as a whole were not more effective than so-called talking cures, whether cognitive behavioral therapy or even old-fashioned Freudian psychoanalysis. According to some investigators, treatments for depression and other common ailments work—if they do work—by harnessing the placebo effect, the tendency of a patient’s expectation of improvement to become self-fulfilling. I titled my article “Why Freud Isn’t Dead.” Far from defending psychoanalysis, my point was that psychiatry has made disturbingly little progress since the heyday of Freudian theory.
ELECTRIC shock therapy on young children will be banned and psychiatrists could be jailed for carrying out the controversial treatment on teenagers and adults without strict legal checks, under proposed legislation. Under a review of Victoria’s Mental Health Act, new legislation has been drafted that would outlaw electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT, for children aged 12 and under.