Posts Tagged ‘ECT’

MECTA Electroshock Device Manufacturer Files for Bankruptcy as its Shock Box Loses Liability Insurance

Monday, April 11th, 2022

Company dismisses ECT dangers and, instead, blames ECT critics and lawsuits for its financial demise; CCHR accuses MECTA of ignoring damaging adverse effects of shock treatment.

March 28, 2022 by CCHR International

MECTA Corp., one of the USA’s two manufacturers of electroshock machines, filed for bankruptcy (9/30/2021) following lawsuits related to the company’s SpECTrum device. MECTA (Monitored Electro-Convulsive Therapy Apparatus) cited lawsuits, filed by patients seeking redress over electroshock-caused brain damage and serious memory loss, as the reason for its bankruptcy. The company was thus unable to obtain product liability insurance to cover the device.

CCHR International’s website TruthAboutECT.org also provides expert statements and quotes, including successful ECT lawsuits and death findings that consumers, in the interest of informed consent and compensation for damage, should be aware of.

The other ECT device manufacturer, Somatics LLC, posted a notice admitting that patients subjected to their Thymatron® ECT device “may experience permanent memory loss or permanent brain damage.”

Neither MECTA nor Somatics have conducted clinical trials to prove the safety and efficacy of their devices.

Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “Long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.”

Watch the CCHR documentary, Therapy or Torture: The Truth About Electroshock, which includes interviews with more than a dozen experts, including a psychiatrist, psychologists, physicians, nurses, and attorneys, as well as shock treatment survivors. The documentary provides facts demonstrating the harm done by ECT.

New Study Tells Consumers the Truth of Potential Lethal Electroshock and Antidepressant Risks

Monday, February 21st, 2022

Over 14,800 ECT patients were 16 times more likely to try to commit suicide than a control group of 58,369; antidepressants can also induce suicidal feelings and frightening long-term withdrawal effects.

By CCHR International
The Mental Health Industry Watchdog
February 7, 2022

A new study published in Psychological Medicine questions the two principle physical treatments recommended for depression: antidepressants and electroshock therapy (ECT) and raises the alarm about their adverse effects on the brain.[1] Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a 53-year mental health industry watchdog, says the study contains vital information for consumers recommended for ECT, including the risk of suicide, all of which adds weight to the argument that the potentially brain-damaging practice should be prohibited as a mental health treatment.

The study by two UK experts, John Read, Ph.D., a psychologist and Joanna Moncrieff, M.D., a psychiatrist, discusses the need for non-harmful alternatives that are safe and effective. They cite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that ECT machines have signs stating: “The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.” Yet, the practice is given to an estimated 100,000 Americans every year, including, in some states, children aged up to five years old.

Antidepressants can also cause long-term sexual dysfunction and severe withdrawal effects, the study shows.

The authors wrote: “With the World Health Association and the United Nations calling for a paradigm shift away from the medicalization of human distress, new evidence about millions of people struggling to get off antidepressants, and ongoing debate about the value and safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT),” and questions “biological psychiatry’s ‘medical model’ when we become sad or depressed.”

The authors debunk the theory that chemical imbalances cause depression and that treatments work by correcting underlying biological dysfunctions, triggered, for example, by a supposed genetic predisposition. They point that “there is no evidence that there are any neurochemical abnormalities in people with depression, let alone abnormalities that might cause depression.”

Many medical experts confirm there are no medical tests (X-rays, blood or urine tests, MRIs, etc.) that can prove a physical source for people’s emotional issues.[2]

Yet, the authors add, until January 2021, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) website advised: “Psychiatric medications can help correct imbalances in brain chemistry that are thought to be involved in some mental disorders.” This is not true.

The authors went on to say, “At present, most drugs are assumed to work according to a ‘disease-centered’ model of drug action, which proposes that they act on the biological processes assumed to underpin symptoms, in the same way as drugs do in most medical conditions.” However, “Like other psychiatric drugs, [antidepressants] are psychoactive substances that cross the blood-brain barrier and alter normal mental processes and behavior by changing the normal functioning of the brain.” [emphasis added]

“That long-term antidepressant use may lead to persistent brain modifications is also evidenced by the prolonged and severe withdrawal state they can induce…around 56% of people experience withdrawal effects after discontinuing antidepressants, and for 46% of those the effects are severe. In general, the longer someone takes an antidepressant, the more likely they are to experience a withdrawal reaction, and the more severe it will be.”

The study also discloses:

  • Hundreds of placebo-controlled trials suggest that antidepressants are marginally better than placebo at reducing depressive symptoms as measured by depression rating scales.
  • The majority of placebo-controlled trials have been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry, which has an investment in inflating results, but government-funded research also fails to confirm that antidepressants have beneficial effects.
  • SSRI antidepressants cause “sexual dysfunction in a large proportion of users, and more worryingly, some people report that this persists after stopping the drug.”
  • “The adverse effects of withdrawal can be so intolerable that some people trying to discontinue treatment have to reduce by tiny amounts over many years, and accumulating evidence suggests that the effects may even persist for months or years after the drugs are finally stopped.” 

Electroshocking Harms Mental Health

As is the case for antidepressants, the various biological deficits that are supposedly corrected by ECT have never been demonstrated, the authors continue. “[T]he story of ECT appears to be one of a biological intervention being claimed to correct biological deficits, but in reality having negative effects on healthy brains, some of which are misconstrued as signs of improvement.” 

A neutral observer would assume that the effects on the brain of repeatedly passing sufficient electricity through it to cause seizures are likely to be negative. ECT advocates, however, “tend to interpret abnormal brain changes caused by multiple electrocutions as beneficial, sometimes even linking them to reduced depression. They don’t consider that the changes might be negative or might be characterized as brain damage.”

The authors further discuss inequities in ECT studies:

  • In the 84 years since the first ECT there have only been 11 randomized placebo-controlled studies (RCTs) for its target diagnosis, depression, all before 1986. A recent review, involving Dr. Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of Placebo Studies at Harvard Medical School, highlighted the poor quality of the 11 studies.
  • Only four studies describe their processes of randomization and testing the blinding (procedure in which one or more parties in a trial are unaware of which participants are subjects of the treatment and those who are not, and helps to reduce bias). None convincingly demonstrate that they are double-blind. Five selectively report their findings. Only four report any ratings by patients. None assess Quality of Life. The studies are small, involving an average of 37 people.
  • No studies showed that ECT outperforms placebo beyond the end of the treatment period.
  • Nevertheless, all five meta-analyses of these flawed studies somehow conclude that ECT is effective.
  • The meta-analyses failed to identify any evidence that ECT prevents suicide, as often claimed. Numerous studies have found ECT recipients are more likely than other patients to kill themselves.
  • In a 2020 study, 14,810 ECT patients were 16 times more likely to try to kill themselves than a matched control group of 58,369. Other studies cited so-called reduce suicides were so small as to be negligible and were not even for depression.
  • A 2021 U.S. study found that 1,524 homeless US veterans who received ECT had made significantly more suicide attempts, at 30 days follow up, than 3,025 matched homeless veterans who hadn’t had ECT. The difference remained significant at 90 days and 1 year.
  • A review of 82 studies found that one in 39 ECT patients (25.8 per 1000) experience ‘major adverse cardiac events,’ the leading cause of ECT-related deaths.
  • As well as the short-term memory loss, which is widely acknowledged, between 12% and 55% of ECT recipients suffer persistent or permanent memory loss (typically defined as six months or longer).
  • Even the APA acknowledges that “ECT can result in persistent or permanent memory loss.”

The fact that discrepancies and bias in ECT studies are exposed draws strong opposition from advocates of the procedure, as doctors Read and Moncrieff point out. The advocates’ “defense” is to “shoot the messenger.”

“Researchers and ECT recipients who question the efficacy and highlight the adverse effects of ECT, are often publicly denigrated, by ECT advocates, as ‘anti-psychiatry ideologues’, ‘extremists’ ‘Scientologists’ and ‘non-medical zealots,’” or “part of a ‘guild war’ between professions.” [See CCHR’s report, Why Psychiatry Sees Itself as a Dying Industry.]

Read and Moncrieff continue: “The President and Chair of the International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation recently accused authors (including two ECT recipients) who had published some inconvenient findings of being ‘ideologically driven,’ of ‘spreading misinformation’ and of having ‘questionable motives.’”

Of note, the Church of Scientology established CCHR in 1969 as an independent organization, along with eminent professor of psychiatry, the late Dr. Thomas Szasz. CCHR comprises members of the church and people of various faiths or none at all. It has been outspoken against electroshock since its inception and has been pivotal in obtaining laws that either introduced safeguards such as informed consent to treatment (and the right to refuse it), as well as banning use of ECT on minors. In Australia, CCHR obtained a ban on deep sleep treatment (DST) that involved ECT and drugs, with criminal penalties, including jail, should anyone administer it. Indeed, in 2002, U.S. psychiatrist Richard Abrams, co-owner of Somatics LLC, which manufacturers an ECT device, wrote: “Absent Scientology there would hardly be an organized anti-ECT movement in the United States or anywhere else.”[3] This, from a “doctor,” who egregiously and misleadingly claims that ECT is about ten times safer than childbirth![4]

A Call for Alternatives

Read and Moncrief call for non-harmful alternatives: “We propose an alternative understanding that recognizes depression as an emotional and meaningful response to unwanted life events and circumstances.” This alternative view, they say, “is increasingly endorsed around the world, including by the United Nations, the World Health Organization and service users who have suffered negative consequences of physical treatments that modify brain functions in ways that are not well-understood.”

Furthermore, “believing you have a brain disease requiring medical intervention can be profoundly disempowering. It encourages people to view themselves as the victims of their biology, to adopt pessimistic views about recovery, increases self-stigma and discourages people from taking active steps to improve their situation.”

“Common sense,” they add, “suggests that the conditions needed to lead an emotionally balanced and fulfilling life, relatively free of major ongoing worry and distress, include a dependable income, housing, secure and rewarding employment, engaging social activities, and opportunities to form close relationships. Some people may need relationship counselling or family therapy, others support with employment or finances. People who feel severely depressed for a long time may simply need to be cared for, reassured with kindness and hope, reminded of times when they have felt good, and kept safe until they feel better, which they often do with time. There is no scientific evidence for some of these suggestions. We learn how to support our fellow humans through our life experience, through being cared for ourselves, and sometimes through art and literature.”

As the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Dr. Dainius P?ras, a Lithuanian psychiatrist, wrote: “Current mental health policies have been affected to a large extent by the asymmetry of power and biases because of the dominance of the biomedical model and biomedical interventions. This model has led…to the medicalization of normal reactions to life’s many pressures, including moderate forms of social anxiety, sadness, shyness, truancy and antisocial behavior.”

In 2021, the World Health Organization echoed these sentiments in its “Guidance on Community Mental Health Services” which says the biological model has resulted in “an over-diagnosis of human distress and over-reliance on psychotropic drugs to the detriment of psychosocial interventions.”[5] The document offers 22 examples of alternatives to drugs and electricity, Read and Moncrieff stress.

CCHR’s has a strong position against ECT; it wants it prohibited. Over 125,000 people have supported its online petition calling for the ban. Sign here.

References:

[1] John Read, Ph.D., Joanna Moncrief, M.D., “Depression: why drugs and electricity are not the answer,” Psychological Medicine, Cambridge University Press, 1 Feb. 2022, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/depression-why-drugs-and-electricity-are-not-the-answer/3197739131D795E326AE6913720E6E37

[2] “No Medical Tests Exist,” CCHR International, https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-disorders/no-medical-tests-exist/

[3] Richard Abrams, M.D., Electroconvulsive Therapy, Fourth Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 10

[4] Richard Abrams, M.D., “The Mortality Rate with ECT,” Convulsive Therapy, 1997

[5] Jan Eastgate, “World Health Organization New Guidelines Are Vital To End Coercive Psychiatric Practices & Abuse,” CCHR International, 11 June 2021, https://www.cchrint.org/2021/06/11/world-health-organization-new-guidelines-are-vital-to-end-coercive-psychiatric-practices-abuse/

U.S. States Still Electroshocking 0–5-Year-Olds

Monday, February 14th, 2022

Forced to obtain electroshock statistics through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), CCHR finds states electroshocking those 0–5 and up to age 12. UN defines any ECT without consent as an act of torture—yet this increasingly occurs throughout the U.S.

Statistics on electroshock treatment (ElectroConvulsive Therapy – ECT) usage in the U.S. for 2019 reveals at least four of 27 states reporting ECT use under Medicaid, to children five years of age or younger. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, condemns the practice of electroconvulsive therapy, which sends up to 460 volts of electricity through the brain to treat mental issues, saying that its use, especially in youngsters, is simply cruel and brutal. As children are too young to consent, non-consensual ECT constitutes torture, according to United Nations bodies such as its Committee Against Torture. In 2013, it recommended “an absolute ban on all forced and non-consensual” use of electroshock. The World Health Organization made similar recommendations in June 2021.

Electroshock remains a contentious issue because there are no clinical trials that have proven the safety and efficacy of its devices. This is because the FDA grandfathered the device in 1976 as it had been in use since 1938, when an Italian psychiatrist discovered it calmed pigs before they were slaughtered.

Psychiatrists opine that forcing electroshock on an individual to damage the brain is therapeutic and as such harm is redefined as benefit.

Psychiatry, following in the steps of a Russian science, has a basic and brutal assumption which is that a shock cures aberration. It springs from the same impulse that assumes punishment cures wrongdoing. The limited workability of this is apparent around us on every hand. The basic psychiatric assumption that enough punishment will restore sanity is easily disproven.

After 84 years, psychiatrists still admit they don’t know how ECT “works,” yet they still administer it, well aware that it cannot cure—but it can cause serious damage.

MECTA Corp, the manufacturer of two ECT devices could not provide evidence of how ECT works other than its machines are designed to cause a grand mal seizure. Any legitimate medical doctor will tell you that seizures are harmful. In fact, the psychiatric billing bible Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists seizures as a mental disorder, yet psychiatrists continue to promote ECT as a “treatment” for mental disorders.

Electroshock is like administering medical blunt force trauma. It should be banned. Sign the petition here to support a total ban on all ECT.

Mental Health Rights Policy To Prevent Patient Torture

Monday, January 31st, 2022

The word “compulsory” and the practice of coercion must be removed from any mental health policy. Effective mental healing should improve and strengthen individuals and thereby society, by restoring individuals to personal strength, ability, competence, responsibility, and spiritual wellbeing.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, launched a policy for governments to adopt to prevent abuse and coercive psychiatric practices that constitute torture. This is based on reports and guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO—guidance on community mental health services) and United Nations representatives for health and against torture. In 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presented a report on “psychological torture” to the UN Human Rights Council, with the strongest condemnation to date of involuntary psychiatric interventions.

Currently, New Zealand is in the process of transforming its mental health law away from coercive and compulsory incarceration and treatment and towards a human rights approach—something CCHR says is urgently needed throughout the United States and worldwide. Recently in the U.S., the mental health system has been rocked with allegations of staff physical, sexual and chemical assaults of patients, especially children and teens in for-profit behavioral facilities, including restraint use leading to death. In 2021, fourteen staff from behavioral hospitals faced criminal proceedings over patient abuse and deaths.

Yet, U.S. psychiatrists have called for the power to increase their rights to involuntarily detain and treat patients, based on the arbitrary argument that persons are a danger to themselves or others. Such arguments fly in the face of the March 2020 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture report on “psychological torture” presented to the UN Human Rights Council, berating involuntary psychiatric interventions based on the supposed “best interests” of a person or on “medical necessity.” Such interventions, the report says, “generally involve highly discriminatory and coercive attempts at controlling or ‘correcting’ the victim’s personality, behavior or choices and almost always inflict severe pain or suffering…such practices may well amount to torture.”

WHO states that forced treatment is not proven to prevent violent practices yet are relied upon “despite the lack of evidence that they offer any benefits, and the significant evidence that they lead to physical and psychological harm and even death.”

Psychiatrists and psychologists are unable to predict whether a person is a danger to oneself or others as this relies upon subjective opinion, not science. “Violence is not a diagnosis nor is it a disease. Potential to do harm is not a symptom or a sign of mental illness,” and cannot be scientifically assessed.

Recommendations

  • Prohibition of all ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT) and psychosurgery, with criminal penalties to those administering these in violation of the law.
  • Informed Consent must be obtained with all major treatment risks documented in writing; the person informed that there are diverse opinions and disagreements about the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnoses which cannot be determined with physical-medical tests; the patient has the right to refuse treatment and revoke consent at any time, as well has the right to all available alternatives.
  • Abolish mechanical and chemical restraints, with criminal penalties if used and resulting in harm or death of the patient.
  • Proper medical testing to be conducted as part of the patient assessment, ruling out underlying and undiagnosed physical conditions that may manifest in “psychiatric” symptoms.
  • Facilities established to safely withdraw patients from psychotropic drugs.
Forced Psychiatry is Legislated Violence

CCHR Notifies Electroshock Hospitals On The Failure To Inform Patients Of Risks

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Watchdog says electroshock must be banned, but until this occurs, hospitals are being notified that omitting patient information of how electroshock treatment causes brain-damage and memory loss may constitute consumer fraud.

Until ECT is banned, CCHR intends to investigate and monitor precisely what information is provided to potential ECT patients and their families by electroshock-hospitals, so that such information may be available to regulatory entities and legal counsel for the those harmed by this practice.

CCHR is writing to the more than 400 psychiatric facilities in the U.S. delivering ECT alerting them to the recognized risks that patients must be informed of to protect them and to avoid consumer fraud action being taken against the hospital and psychiatrists administering ECT. As part of a worldwide movement that wants electroshock permanently banned, until this occurs, every known risk of the damaging practice must be disclosed along with all safer, non-physically invasive alternatives that are available.

CCHR’s review of hospital websites offering ECT and electroshock informed consent forms, shows grossly inadequate information, which is misleading to patients. At a time when mental health is so prevalent in the news, better information must be disclosed until this brain-damaging procedure is banned.

Example: Approximately 150,000 people get ECT every year in the US, with 2,000 shock treatments being done every year by Washington University in St. Louis psychiatrists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, who still claim that this abusive treatment is safe and effective in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. When psychiatrists say ECT is “effective”, they mean the patient feels less depressed; of course, the patient doesn’t feel much of anything anymore, good or bad. In fact, what ECT really does is similar to smacking your thumb with a hammer, making it seem that no other problem is important. (Of course, they give you a general anesthetic to suppress the pain. The body still feels it; shocking, isn’t it?)

So why do they still perform ECT? Because they charge up to $2500 per session; and if you are on Medicare you are a prime candidate for this barbaric “treatment.”

The bottom line is that electroshock should be banned and because, arguably, its use constitutes assault and battery — certainly from a patient’s perspective. It does not belong in any mental health system.

Take Action

ECT is a brutal practice and people should sign CCHR’s online petition supporting a ban.

Putting Profit Above Children’s Lives

Monday, August 30th, 2021

The child mental health industry is a system that puts profit above children’s lives, preying on unsuspecting parents and taking advantage of disadvantaged children, such as those covered under Medicaid (state and federal health coverage for lower income families and those with disabilities). It is rife with abuse, yet this hugely profitable industry is rarely held to account for its rampant abuse of our most vulnerable—children.

It is an industry which milks the foster care system for huge profit, where children are four times more likely to be given mind-altering psychotropic drugs than non-foster care children, and much more likely to be prescribed cocktails of these drugs.

It is an industry that electroshocks children including babies, using state funds for lower income families (Medicaid).

It is a business masquerading as healthcare which sells parents and legislators on the idea of helping troubled children. Yet this help is more often simply incarcerating children in behavioral schools or psychiatric wards, where treatment consists of psychiatric drug cocktails, degradation, solitary confinement, and brutal restraint procedures which have killed children. And all of this is done under the guise of helping children.

The abuse is not limited to one chain of psychiatric facilities or one mode of psychiatric behavioral “treatment.” This abuse in the child mental health industry is systemic—yet unknown to most of the public.

For example: Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveals that 19 states are currently administering electroshock to children, with 7 of those states electroshocking children aged 0-5 years old. These are all children being electroshocked while psychiatrists and facilities bill Medicaid for their “treatment.”

Yet another example — Only one month after the world witnessed the tragic death of George Floyd, unable to breathe as he was physically restrained and held to the ground, 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick, an African American, was physically restrained at Sequel Youth & Family Services’ facility in Michigan, and also cried out, “I can’t breathe!” before passing out. Thirty hours later, on May 1, 2020, he was dead. Cornelius had gone into cardiac arrest while being restrained by Lakeside Academy staff, a residential psychiatric facility that treated foster care and other kids with behavioral issues. A witness to Cornelius’s restraint said, “[T]his kid threw a sandwich. He was being unruly and they couldn’t control him. So, four guys…the size of rugby players tackled him.”

Cornelius is not alone; countless children have suffocated and died after being subjected to deadly restraints within these psychiatric facilities and behavioral treatment centers.

This is not healthcare. This is child abuse. And it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Please help us to support the cause and end the abuse of children in the psychiatric industry. We are making incredible progress, as many of the psychiatric facilities abusing these children are now under investigation. And many state legislators want to put an end to this abuse. There is more to be done, and so we ask you to continue to support our Fight For Kids campaign. Please support the cause and also watch our latest video here.

For more information, visit our Child Psychiatric Treatment page here.

Childhood Is Not A Mental Disorder

Something is Rotten in Canton

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Let’s Electroshock Children Who Misbehave

In March of 2020 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts from using electric shock devices on their autistic and other mentally troubled children. In July of 2021 a federal appeals court removed the ban. The school is once again electro shocking about 60 students a day.

The school administers electric skin shocks in a form of “aversion therapy” for aggressive or self-injurious behavior. School staff trigger a shock to a child by using a remote control that zaps children with electric current when they misbehave. The school calls this a “medical device.” Since 1987 a state court must determine that such forced treatment is appropriate.

This electrical stimulation device delivers a powerful and painful electric shock to the wearer’s skin in an effort to punish. This school is the only facility in the country that uses coercive electric shock therapy to “treat” individuals who severely self-injure or are aggressive.

The FDA finally recognized in March 2020 (after 20 years) that these devices “present substantial psychological and physical risks and, in fact, can worsen underlying symptoms—while leading to heightened anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the FDA ban on July 6, 2021, stating that the ban was a regulation of the practice of medicine, which is outside the FDA’s area of authority.

The History of Abuse

In April 2016, the FDA first proposed banning electrical stimulation devices for self-injurious or aggressive behavior.

In 2018, the media reported that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center would be allowed to continue administering electric shocks to its special needs students after a judge ruled the procedure conformed to the “accepted standard of care,” in spite of the practice being condemned by disability rights groups and the ACLU.

On December 3, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of The Organization of American States published a Precautionary Measure calling for the school to immediately cease electroshocking special needs children as a disciplinary measure.

In March 2020 the FDA finally determined that the devices presented a substantial and unreasonable risk to self-injurious and aggressive patients, justifying banning the devices for that purpose.

The Appeals Court

The appeals court examined the question, “Does the FDA have legal authority to ban an otherwise legal device from a particular use?”

The court concluded that current law prohibits the FDA from regulating the practice of medicine, and therefore it vacated the FDA’s rule banning electrical stimulation devices for self-injurious and aggressive behavior. There was one dissenting opinion; the Chief Judge found in favor of the FDA. [Read the full court opinion here.]

Of course, the lie in the argument is that electro shocking children is “practicing medicine.” In fact it is torture, not medicine.

The Case Against Torture

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has remarked that Electro Convulsive Treatment (ECT) amounts to torture. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that there are no indications for the use of ECT on minors. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) calls for a ban on “forced treatment.”

Granted that ECT is more severe than electric skin shocks, just have someone force you to stick your finger into an electric wall socket and tell us that this is not torture.

Disguising social control as medical treatment is a deceit which conceals an abuse.” This is a de facto abuse of power, as it seeks to limit and control the individual instead of helping the individual to get better and improve their conditions in life.

In the United Nations July 24, 2018 Annual Report of the High Commissioner “Mental health and human rights,” it states, “States should ensure that all health care and services, including all mental health care and services, are based on the free and informed consent of the individual concerned, and that legal provisions and policies permitting the use of coercion and forced interventions, including involuntary hospitalization and institutionalization, the use of restraints, psychosurgery, forced medication, and other forced measures aimed at correcting or fixing an actual or perceived impairment, including those allowing for consent or authorization by a third party, are repealed. States should reframe and recognize these practices as constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and as amounting to discrimination against users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities.”

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, formally adopted on December 10, 1948 states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

CCHR’s own Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1969, states these rights, among others:
“The right to refuse any treatment the patient considers harmful.”
“No person shall be given psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.”

Sign the petition to ban electroshock here.

Common Sense May Not Be All That Common

Monday, May 10th, 2021

We found a number of useful definitions for the phrase “common sense.”

– Sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.
– An ability to reach intelligent conclusions.
– A reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence.
– The ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions.
– Good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.
– Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge.
– The basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way.
– Agreement with those perceptions, associations and judgments possessed of the generality of mankind. With respect to this definition, some have said that common sense implies something everyone knows; if that is the case, then what appears to be common sense is often common nonsense, given the level of disagreements showing up on current social media.

In Latin, sensus communis means “common feelings of humanity.”

Sometimes the phrase is found hyphenated: “common-sense” — something which reflects common sense, as in “a common-sense approach.”

Discussion

We wondered if it is possible to teach common sense, or if it is an innate (although not always evident) characteristic of humanity.

If anyone can have an instance or episode of common sense, perhaps we should also examine how this ability can be compromised.

In the past, some religious scholars have posited the negative influence of Satan as the mechanism of compromise. Others have attributed common sense, or lack of it, to one’s maturity level.

One place where common sense fails is in superstition. We have discussed superstition previously; it might be helpful to review it here.

We see many scholarly articles whose premise is that psychology and psychiatry are “scientific” and thus not matters of common sense. We tried reading a paper about psychiatry and common sense; frankly, making any sense of it without falling asleep was a challenge. It propagates the idea that “common sense rests on judgments of the probable rather than what we can directly ascertain as true” — which we think, from the definitions above, is directly contrary to the idea that common sense depends on the perception and observation of reality. Perhaps, though, that is precisely where common sense leaves off and superstition begins.

The True Basis For Common Sense

So we come to what we think is the true basis for common sense, which is “obnosis” — the observation of the obvious, on which all good judgment is based.

Observation is not passive, it is very much an active process, involving the closest possible study of what one is observing. Thus we see that the most important thing which hinders or gets in the way of one’s common sense is anything which blocks or hinders close observation. Truth or falsity, while relevant, is not even close in importance to the actual observation of what is there in front of you.

And yes, you can indeed teach someone to observe. You can also rehabilitate this ability in someone whose common sense has been compromised by a too heavy dependence on belief as a replacement for certainty.

One other thing that aids in the exercise of common sense would be the ability to imagine the consequences of one’s actions. This provides a predictive quality so important to good judgment.

How Does Psychiatry Compromise Common Sense?

Having an unobstructed view of the world, as we have just observed, is of paramount importance. This viewpoint, as far as the physical perceptions provided by one’s body goes, depends upon the proper functioning of one’s nerves and the nervous system. Yet the primary “treatments” of psychiatry are drug-based, with neuroleptic (“nerve-seizing”) drugs a chief offender. And lately there is a heavy psychiatric emphasis on psychedelic drugs, known primarily for their interference with such perceptions.

Need we even mention the harm that psychiatric Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) does — a direct attack on the brain, the center of the body’s nerve system.

Can you imagine how these might compromise one’s common sense? There are harmful consequences for psychiatric treatment.

The Bottom Line

A Truly Common Sense Approach would be banning ECT, banning psychiatric drugs, in fact defunding and banning psychiatry.

Contact your local, state, and federal officials and representatives and let them know what you think about this.

In Memory of Common Sense & Courtesy
In Memory of Common Sense & Courtesy

Give Me Your Attention Please

Monday, April 12th, 2021

As an English word, “attention” can mean one of many definitions:

  • applying the mind to something
  • selective focusing one’s perception or awareness
  • consideration with a view to action
  • an act of civility or courtesy
  • sympathetic consideration of someone’s needs and wants
  • a position assumed by a soldier
  • considering or taking notice
  • dealing with or taking special care
  • focusing interest

[From Latin attendere, from ad- ‘to’ + tendere ‘stretch’.]

Attention is a built-in attribute of living beings. For people (and some animals), it’s generally the ability to self-determinedly focus awareness (to greater or lesser degree); for plants, one might observe a more physical characteristic such as motion toward a light source.

There are two extremes of attention. Introversion is looking inward. Extroversion is looking outward. Attention can be aberrated such that it becomes too fixed and unable to sweep, or too dispersed and unable to focus. Somewhere in between these extremes is an optimum level for a given situation.

A simple remedy for excessive introversion is extroversion — a good look at and communication with the wider external environment; Take A Walk and Look At Things! A simple remedy for excessive extroversion, which is sometimes called “being buttered all over the universe”, could be “mindfulness” — which is just being in Present Time.

Attention is actually a flow of energy; it can flow outward, inward, or appear relatively motionless. As long as you can keep someone’s attention fixated or confused they can be controlled; this is how hypnotism works.

In the current environment of society, especially in psychiatric mental health “care”, it is all too common for attention to be manipulated by drugs, shock or impact. Picture being slapped in the face: got your attention, did it? Unfortunately such an impact can have two entirely opposite outcomes. On the one hand it might cause one to focus fixedly on the source of the impact. On the other hand it might cause one to lose consciousness and be unable to focus attention at all. Which way it goes depends on the suddenness and strength of the force. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or shock treatment, is an extreme but prevalent example of psychiatric brutality.

Another often unsuspected cause of attention issues is illiteracy or study problems. The many side effects of reading and comprehension difficulties are a main barrier to one’s ability to focus attention. For example, the July 2002 George W. Bush President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education revealed the source of a deeply troubled Special Education system: 40 percent of kids are being labeled with “learning disorders” simply because they have not been taught to read.

The Attention-Deficit Fraud

In 1987, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD) was literally voted into existence by a show of hands of American Psychiatric Association members and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Within a year, 500,000 children in America alone were diagnosed with this fake disease.

ADHD actually represents the spontaneous behaviors of normal children. When these behaviors become age-inappropriate, excessive or disruptive, the potential causes are limitless, including: boredom, poor teaching, inconsistent discipline at home, reading difficulty, tiredness, street drugs, nutritional deficiency, toxic overload, and many kinds of underlying physical illness.

The main “treatments” for so-called ADHD are psychotropic drugs which have known side effects of violence and suicide. Some of these drugs are no more than amphetamine-like stimulants, designed to shock one into focusing attention. Aside from the physical impact, there are also severe emotional conditions caused by even short-term use of such drugs. Hallucinations and psychotic behavior are not uncommon.

Due to the hazards of these drugs, in order to receive federal funds under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act), the “Prohibition on Mandatory Medication Amendment” (H.R.1350) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 3, 2004 and requires schools to implement policies that prohibit schoolchildren being forced onto psychiatric drugs as a requisite for their education. The law states, “The psychological/psychiatric system should not be able to abuse Special Education by diagnosing childhood and educational problems and failure as ‘mental disorders.'”

Recommendations

People do not have a deficiency of attention, nor do they have a deficiency of attention drugs. They may have barriers that prevent or inhibit effective use of attention, but these have non-psychiatric-drug solutions.

1. Support legislative measures that will protect children from psychiatric and psychological interference and which will remove their destructive influence from our schools.

2. Ultimately, psychiatry and psychology must be eliminated from all education systems and their coercive and unworkable methods should never be funded by the State.

3. No person should be given psychiatric or psychological treatment against their will.

4. Government funding should never be used for mental health screening or treatment programs and should be allocated, instead, to better educational facilities, teachers and tutoring to improve the literacy and educational standards of students.

Psychiatry is Not a Sustainable Industry

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Reference:
United Nations Promoting Sustainable Development

Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Sustainable: Of, relating to, or being a method or lifestyle for using resources so that the resources can be maintained and continued, and are not depleted or permanently damaged.

[from Old French sustenir (French: soutenir), from Latin sustineo, sustinere, from sub– (under) + teneo (hold, uphold, possess, guard, maintain)]

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and their 169 associated targets adopted in 2015 and accepted by all Member States seek to realize the human rights of all and balance economic, social and environmental factors towards peace and prosperity for all.

To this end we examine some of the existing factors which block or inhibit the realization of these goals, and which must be eliminated so that the goals can be achieved in practice.

SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global
Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Target 17.16: Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.

How Psychiatry Obstructs Target 17.16

It should be obvious by now that psychiatry is not a sustainable industry, neither by definition nor by example.

The main resource in consideration here is people, the most critical building blocks of society. Yet psychiatry has no cures, and depends on damaging their patients to continue in business.

We see the globalization of biomedical psychiatry as undemocratic, unsustainable and without a clear ethical focus.

Green Mental Health Care

Green Mental Health Care is based on the preservation and treatment of the mind and body (for they are not separate functions) using non-toxic, non-addictive, and non-invasive strategies that produces good mental health. Green Mental Health Care has not only proven to be superior in patient outcomes than any other treatment method, including the use of psychiatric drugs, but it achieves the patient’s health goals at a fraction of the cost while saving them from the life-threatening health risks associated with psychiatric drugs.

Unsustainable Psychiatric Practices

Unsustainable prescription drug costs will ultimately create pressures on health systems and insurers to reduce spending in other areas or to decrease benefits.

ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT), or shock therapy, is a highly lucrative but damaging psychiatric practice. The purpose of shock treatment is to create brain damage. This brain damage is what brings about the memory loss and learning disability, as well as the spatial and temporal disorientation which always follows shock treatments. All physical damage done to the brain by ECT is permanent and irreversible. There is evidence that the damage, once begun by ECT, is progressive and feeds on itself, leading to further brain deterioration, including physical shrinkage of the brain and a shortening of the life of the victim. This barbaric “treatment” is currently being pushed on an unsuspecting and vulnerable patient population for major depression, but in reality it creates a patient for life due to this brain damage. Sign the petition to Ban ECT.

With mental health treatment costing up to 300% more than general medical treatment, spiraling costs are unavoidable when mental health care is mandated.

Psychiatrists and psychologists proclaim a worldwide epidemic of mental health problems and urge massive funding increases as the only solution. Yet Community Mental Health programs have been an expensive and colossal failure, creating homelessness, drug addiction, crime and unemployment all over the world.

Whenever a “mental patient” commits an act of senseless violence, psychiatrists invariably blame the tragedy on the person’s failure to continue their medication. Such incidents are used to justify mandated community treatment and involuntary commitment laws. However, statistics and facts show it is psychiatric drugs themselves that can create the very violence or mental incompetence they are prescribed to treat.

The end result of psychiatric treatment is not a cured patient, returned to society as a well-adjusted, functioning contributor, but rather a person with the same or worse mental symptoms, told they must remain on debilitating psychiatric drugs for life, because psychiatrists know of no other cure.

“Biomedical psychiatry” has yet to validate a single psychiatric diagnosis as a disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically imbalanced or genetic. Decades of psychiatric monopoly over mental health has only lead to upwardly spiraling mental illness statistics and continuously escalating funding demands — the very definition of unsustainable.

The claim that only increased funding will cure the problems of psychiatry has lost its ring of truth. Psychiatry and psychology should be held accountable for the funds already given them, and irrefutably and scientifically prove the physical existence of mental disorders they claim should be treated and covered by insurance in the same way as physical diseases are.

The many critical challenges facing societies today reflect the vital need to strengthen individuals through workable, viable and humanitarian alternatives to harmful psychiatric options.

Psychiatric fraud and abuse must be eradicated so that SDG 17 can occur.