"A man needs a little madness, otherwise he never dares cut the rope and be free."
--Nikos Kazantzakis, from 'Zorba the Greek'

    
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from CTIP

Everything you ought to know about ECT. The ECT Frequently Asked Questions from CTIP (Committee for Truth In Psychiatry, an international organization for shock survivors.) Learn more about this organization for shock survivors.



National Mental Health Association

NMHA has come out with a strong statement on ECT and urges increased, rigorous and objective research on ECT. NMHA also advocates the establishment of a national data bank. (Nice job, NMHA!)



SCI resolution on electroshock passed

Support Coalition International today passed a resolution condemning electroshock as a human rights violation. The Board of Directors agreed that electroshock "directly violates section 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which outlaws "cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment", and the UN Convention Against Torture."
Resolution Against Electroshock - A Crime Against Humanity



NIH Consensus Statement

The National Institute of Health put together an extensive conference on electroconvulsive therapy. The conference not only included the top shock docs, but also survivors and doctors who speak out against ECT. At times it was heated, but the resulting document, the NIH Consensus Statement, is the best "official" statement in existence.



American Psychiatric Association

Here are three versions of the APA's statement on ECT policy and practice. The first is the statement available to the public, the second and third are for practitioners. (1990 version and an upcoming version)
The American Psychiatric Association's official statement on ECT, for the public.

From 1990, their official recommendations paper (for practitioners). They are obviously making a few changes (see below).

APA Report
From the American Psychiatric Association, here is the newest version of their statement on ECT...."The Practice of Electroconvulsive Therapy: Recommendations for Treatment, Training and Privileging." The whole report is a few inches thick and a huge project to get scanned...but I've got the most important chapters scanned and ready to read. This is not yet released, and this is the DRAFT version only. (An insider sent me a copy)

A few points stand out in this report:
-Despite all the hoopla about unilateral ECT having fewer side effects, it's not very effective
-The results of ECT are very temporary, and this illustrates the need to continue the treatments indefinitely
-Memory loss does happen ("In many patients the recovery from retrograde amnesia will be incomplete, and there is evidence that ECT can result in persistent or permanent memory loss")
And from the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the official position paper.



Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)

Censorship at CMHS
The Center for Mental Health Studies report is out! (I am a member of the federal Task Force in Washington, D.C.) The bad news is that CMHS *did* censor the report, after hiring Linda Andre (head of the largest shock survivor organization, CTIP) as a consultant. Exclusive to the Shocked! site, read what CMHS censored, due to the lobbying efforts of NAMI and others who don't want any negative information about ECT to be made public. NAMI=censorship.

CMHS Report is released
The official Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) report is out! After a lot of politics about this report, including intensive efforts by NAMI to censor any information critical to ECT, the report is here online!

Among the findings:
    *It is.. .well established that ECT produces memory deficits. Deficits in memory function, which have been demonstrated objectively and repeatedly, persist after the termination of a normal course of ECT.
    *The importance (and lack of) informed consent
    *The use of coercion
    *Immediate research needs, including the need to fully research memory loss and brain damage concerns.

What went on at CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services)? A review, a meeting between the feds and ECT recipients, and lots of behind-the-scenes action.

In the beginning, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) expressed anger that CHMS would even review the subject!



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


What's going on with the FDA?
Since the 1976 Medical Devices Act became law, a tug of war between the shock industry and shock survivors has raged on. ECT devices (the machines) have *never* undergone any testing for safety under the guidance of the FDA. The only testing is on YOU, the patient. Oooops. And the American Psychiatric Association is fighting hard to make sure it stays that way. Read letters from the top two shock doc/researchers in the country, sent to the FDA. These letters were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.

Dr. Peter Breggin discusses the history of how the psychiatric lobby keeps ECT devices from undergoing FDA-approved testing.

Read a sampling of reports of adverse effects reported to the FDA.

Consider writing to the FDA yourself and asking the question: What scientific evidence have you provided to the National Institute of Mental Health and the Surgeon General that supports their statement that "ECT is safe and effective?" (Division of Neurological Devices, Richard Munzer, the person in charge.)


The Surgeon General's Report

By now you've heard about the Surgeon General's report on mental health. It has been another political hot potato, with some segments applauding, others hissing.

And so with pressure from the office of the Vice President, the Surgeon General hastily issued this report. He wasn't given the time needed to prepare the report in a thorough manner, and apparently didn't see the need to fully examine the issues.

Before the report was finished, the section on ECT was leaked to activists and ECT survivors. In the section on ECT, Surgeon General David Satcher says ECT is both effective and safe. This outraged ECT survivors and activists, who immediately began a public campaign to the Surgeon General. He refused to budge, only saying that his report was final.

Reuters News Service and the New York Times immediately picked up on the unrest among survivors and activists.

Reuters: Preliminary information from the US Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, due to be released in December, has evoked a critical response from consumer advocates who claim that the report offers a "sugar-coated" description of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a controversial treatment for depression.

New York Times: A preliminary draft of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, not yet released to the public, has touched off an uproar among some consumer advocates, who say it gives too rosy and uncritical a picture of electroshock therapy.

Eventually, other news sources picked up the story:
The Disability News Service: Generally, such reports from the surgeon general are regarded as state of the art research, and are frequently cited as authoritative sources in media reports and professional journals. According to Rogers, at least the ECT section of the draft report on mental health fails to measure up to previous surgeon general reports on smoking and nutrition.

British Medical Journal: Although still in preliminary draft form and yet to be released officially to the public, the long awaited US surgeon general's report on mental health has already created an uproar, after a consumer health group released excerpts highlighting the efficacy and safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of depression.

MedscapeWire: "Unscientific" Surgeon General's Report Misrepresents Research, Minimizes Risks of Electroshock, Say Advocates. Surgeon General David Satcher's Report on Mental Health, released December 13, is said to be a rigorously science-based document, yet at its center was a political struggle between patients who have been harmed by mental health treatment and doctors with a vested interest in promoting it.

Susan Rogers, of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, compiled a lengthy rebuttal to the section of the report. It's very detailed, and analyzes the scant data the Surgeon General surveyed.

David Oaks, head of the world's largest psychiatric survivor organization Support Coalition International, wrote a scathing letter to the Office of the Surgeon General.

An editorial from the Baltimore Sun blasts the report as "inaccurate and misleading."
The Surgeon General's New Clothes: How the press and the SG distort the truth about mental distress


The National Council on Disabilities

"From Privileges to Rights: People Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities Speak for Themselves"

All the recommendations in this report emphasize the basic principle that people with psychiatric disabilities are, first and foremost, citizens who have the right to expect that they will be treated according to the principles of law that apply to all other citizens. All laws and policies that restrict the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities simply because of their disabilities are inharmonious with basic principles of law and justice, as well as with such landmark civil rights laws as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"...public policy should move toward the elimination of electro-convulsive therapy and psycho surgery as unproven and inherently inhumane procedures. Effective humane alternatives to these techniques exist now and should be promoted."

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