Posts Tagged ‘ECT’

The High Number Of Suicides After Electroshock

Monday, September 26th, 2022

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry [1] showed an astounding rate of suicide death for those who received electroconvulsive (shock) therapy (ECT), contrary to the claims of its proponents.

Here is the study’s conclusion: “The risk of suicide mortality 30 days and 1 year following treatment was similar in patients treated with an index course ECT and in a matched group. There was no evidence that an ECT course decreased the risk of death by suicide.”

The electroshock study utilized electronic medical record data from the Department of Veterans Affairs health system between 2000 and 2017 to include 5,157 index courses of ECT therapy, along with 10,097 matched controls who did not receive ECT. Index ECT usually refers to the initial phase of treatment in hospital to induce maximum response. The typical number of treatments is 6–12.

The study found the risk of suicide death was similar in patients treated with an index course ECT and in a matched group who were not given ECT. In the cohort, suicide deaths were: 138.65 per 10,000 in 30 days and 564.52 per 10,000 in 1 year. “ECT does not appear to have a greater effect on decreasing the risk for suicide than other types of mental health treatment provided to patients with similar risk,” the authors wrote.

Assertions by psychiatric organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association that ECT is a life-saving treatment is so misleading that it could constitute consumer fraud.

Between Tricare [DoD health insurance] and Veteran Affairs, the Department of Defense (DoD) spent more than $70 million dollars on electroshock treatment between 2010 and 2019. During this same period, there was a 46% increase in the number of veterans that were given ECT. [2]

The tragic expectation is that more patients will commit suicide after receiving electroshock. Psychiatrists and the FDA will blame this on their “illness” rather than failed treatment. [3]

Electroshock carries the risk of driving people to commit suicide. Patients sold on the fraudulent idea that the treatments correct a “chemical imbalance” or faulty chemical messengers in the brain become hopeless when those treatments fail them and go on to make fatal decisions about their lives.

There needs to be accountability for false claims made in defense of these treatments—better still, take them off the market when their risks are so high. Consumer fraud litigation should ensue in addition to any personal injury claims.

Vulnerable patients seeking mental health care deserve much, much better. Non-harmful practices should be made available to them.

Why Use Shock Treatment At All?

The barbaric and shameful use of shock treatment unfortunately has a lengthy history. ECT had its beginnings in early Roman times when people would place an electrical torpedo fish against their heads to rid themselves of headaches.

The purpose of ECT shock treatment is to cause convulsions and create brain damage in order to reduce one’s awareness of their troubles. Make no mistake, shock treatment is painful. Stick your finger in an electrical outlet if you doubt this. Shock treatment uses an anesthetic to numb the pain and render the patient unconscious. A muscle relaxant is administered, causing a virtual shutdown of muscular activity to reduce damage from the convulsions.

Notice that someone with troubles is already at a lower level of awareness. Pain is then what they are most aware and certain of. The psychiatrist is there to deliver more pain in the mistaken idea that this will cause the insane to be less insane. However, the certainty and awareness of pain which is delivered by such an impact is a non-self-determined certainty. Certainty delivered by force, pain, blows and shock eventually brings about only unconsciousness and the certainty of unawareness.

Today, psychiatry is not particularly interested in increasing awareness; they would rather blunt someone’s awareness in a misguided attempt to make a person less aware of their troubles.

Thus we see that ECT does not and never can cause an improvement in mental health, since it produces only the reduction of awareness.

Psychiatry’s brutal ECT can now be seen for what it really is: an attempt to overwhelm an individual, eventually rendering them unaware of their mental traumas and compromising any efforts to actually get better.

The real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness” and stigmatize unwanted behavior as “diseases,” using the psychiatric billing bible the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as their justification. The bottom line is that all psychiatric “treatments” are harmful.

Contact your local, state and federal representatives and urge them to ban ECT.

References:

[1] Bradley V. Watts, MD, MPH, Talya Peltzman, MPH, and Brian Shiner, MD, MPH, “Electroconvulsive Therapy and Death by Suicide,” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Apr. 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35421285/

[2] https://www.cchrint.org/2021/05/25/cchr-supports-veterans-against-electroshock-dod-spends-70m-on-shocking-minds/

[3] https://www.cchrint.org/2022/08/05/new-study-shows-high-number-of-suicides-after-electroshock/

Italian Police Arrested 18 For Allegedly Brainwashing and Selling Children

Monday, September 5th, 2022

It’s old news (27 June 2019), but still shocking nevertheless.

Italian police had arrested 18 people for allegedly brainwashing children into thinking their parents had sexually abused them so they could be sold to foster parents for cash. The accused included psychotherapists working for a social work association.

To brainwash the children, those arrested allegedly forged child-like drawings with sexual connotations and used electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) to implant fake abuse memories.

ECT is the barbaric psychiatric practice of sending an electric current searing through the brain to create a severe convulsion or seizure of long duration, called a grand mal convulsion, which is identical to an epileptic fit.

The purpose of psychiatric shock treatment is to create brain damage, in the mistaken theory that this is beneficial to human beings. As one can see in this case, it can be used to make someone believe things that are not true.

While ECT obviously has no therapeutic value, its punishment value causes a person to be hypnotically cooperative. The person is given an electric shock and told while the shock is occurring that they must obey and do certain things. It is actually the violence of the shock which subdues and degrades a person into changing their personality and performing outrageous actions, which brutal method has been used for a long time by various governments to create politically obedient slaves.

For example, for a communistic state to exist, slaves to the state need to exist. The marriage of psychiatry with communist regimes has spanned countries across the globe as an effective means to deal with political dissension by making people into slaves. They have been using psychiatry ever since as a significant part of the plot.

Let’s call out ECT for what it really is: a brutal, brain-destroying criminal act. Contact your local, state and federal officials and tell them to ban ECT.

Hallelujah! Keep the Faith

Monday, August 15th, 2022

Faith (some of the many definitions):
* confidence, trust or loyalty for a person or thing
* belief that is not based on objective observations
* a system of religious beliefs

[From the Latin root fidere “to trust”.]

In Hebrew, faith is emunah ?????. It is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason.

Furthermore, faith is confidence in one’s abilities, especially confidence in one’s ability to create. An individual who cannot create has to hold on to what they already have; thus the obsessiveness of some faiths.

Faith is not the same as Faith-In. When one has Faith In something or someone, there is an inflow of agreement from another to self, thus placing oneself under the control of another. This is what hypnotism is. Faith by itself has no flow, is native to the individual, and expresses that one is in full control of one’s own beingness, doingness and havingness.

The opposite of faith is distrust (i.e. trust nothing) or disbelief. At the top of this dichotomy [Faith/Distrust] is Life; at the bottom is Death.

The philosopher who said “have faith” was mistaken, for one does not “have” faith, one “is” faith. That is, the source of faith is oneself. This misunderstanding leads one to be afraid to understand, substituting obsessive faith [belief] for actual understanding.

The scale of faith is very close to the scale of self-determinism. At the top of the scale, an individual’s greatest health, sanity and effectiveness are achieved with the greatest self-determinism, and thus the greatest faith. At the bottom of the scale, where self-determinism is lacking and other-determinism predominates, ill-health, insanity, and ineffectiveness are the norm, and thus the greatest distrust.

One could say that self-determinism is the ability to direct oneself. The technical definition of self-determinism is the relative ability to determine location in time and space, and the ability to create and destroy space, time, energy and matter.

Faith Corrupted By Psychiatry

Contrast this with psychiatry. When we speak of “coercive psychiatry” we mean that psychiatry is used as a means of social control against which one has no recourse and cannot fight back, which is destructive of one’s self-determinism, causing distrust instead of faith. Prime examples are involuntary commitment, electroshock, and enforced treatment.

Coercive psychiatry is not intended to cure anything. On the contrary, psychiatry is the science of control and entrapment, and having power over distressed and vulnerable individuals. Wherever men have advocated and advanced totalitarianism, they have used psychiatric principles to control society, to put limits on individual freedom, to suppress and punish dissent, and to trap people into worsening conditions. It is actually a mis-use of power, since its intentions are to make less of a person’s self-determinism and give more power to others and the State.

All too often people may mistakenly disparage their own strength or power; do not allow psychiatry to crush yours even further.

Contact your local, state and federal officials and tell them to stop funding coercive psychiatry.

Forced Psychiatry is Legislated Violence

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.