Richard Abrams is the king of self promotion and conflict of interest. His grimy hands are dipped in every pot of electric gold he can find. Not only has he written *the* textbook on ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy by Oxford Press, 1997), he owns Somatics, Inc., manufacturer of the ThymatronTM, the hottest new product in brain assault. And if that isn't enough, Abrams' company also manufactures the mouth guard to prevent dental injury during ECT.
When a doctor wrote in the medical journal Convulsive Therapy that doctors could save money by using sports mouth guards instead of more expensive ones, Abrams' Somatics partner wrote a letter attacking the idea. He didn't bother to mention that he and Abrams owned the company that manufactured the alternative (at $29 each!)
Some believe that Abrams suffers from multiple personality disorder because of his differing looks. (The above picture is from his blond permed period) I prefer to think that he simply has bad hair days. Thanks to my good friend Jean F. who has provided me with more laughter on this particular concept. Her monologues on Abrams' varying hairdos are worth more than a year's supply of Prozac!
Abrams' text, considered the authoritative work on ECT, subtly promotes his ThymatronTM by pointing out the advantages of an audible system of monitoring induced seizures, over the old fashioned method of chart and pen. And of course the ThymatronTM has it!
He sells all kinds of gadgets, courses and anything related to ECT: machines, mouth guards, books and videos. He's the King of ECT! I'm looking forward to the infomercial and the Home ThymatronTM, soon to be seen on the Home Shopping Network.
Abrams will continue to promote ECT over any other method of treatment until the day he dies. In fact, he even says that no progress has been made in the pharmacological treatment of depression since the 1950s. He wrote the following statement in 1992, well after the successful introduction of Prozac and a host of other new antidepressants:
"...despite manufacturers' claims, no significant progress in the pharmacological treatment of depression has occurred since the introduction of imipramine in 1958."