It's Shocking, Really

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Electroconvulsive therapy, popularly known as electroshock therapy is just that: shocking. Doctors use electricity to stimulate parts of the brain, producing seizures that hopefully spark the brain out of depression. Nowadays, patients are sedated so that only the brain convulses, but the procedure continues to be somewhat controversial... partly due to a history of torturous images and tales, and partly due to the real side effects — particularly memory loss — and the potential misuse due to hasty referrals or poor execution. Have you undergone the treatment? Did it work for you?

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This is a quote from Benjamin Rush, whose image is on the seal of the American Psychiatric Association (or it was as of 2000): "TERROR acts powerfully on the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness. FEAR accompanied with PAIN and a sense of SHAME, has sometimes cured this disease." One patient's fear of being damaged by electroshock was called a "paranoid delusion" which was treated with electroshock. Electroshock "is systematic brain damage, and the damage is the effect." Solving a problem with electroshock is like solving a behavior problem by killing someone. Electroshock kills parts of people while they are alive. Sure, the problem is gone, but the problem produced is far greater. I've read that half of the people who are electroshocked are 65 years old and greater. If we don't solve this problem now, it could damage us later in life if we end up without resources or support to protect us. Electroshock prevents people from healing by emotional release. I think it is a sexual assault because of where the nervous system concentrates in the body.

Genuine informed consent for electroshock is nonexistent because electroshock psychiatrists deny or minimize its harmful effects. The APA states, "In light of the available evidence, brain damage need not be included [in the consent form] as a potential risk." The consent form states the risk of death is 50 times lower than it actually is. This is plain illegal, but doctors have been effective in getting away with it because they can't realize how much harm they cause. Most people who cause harm justify it to themselves.

Quotes from: http://www.wildestcolts.com/mentalhealth/shock.html

Sent by Irene | 2:07 PM | 7-25-2007

I would like to object to the description of ECT or Electro Convulsive Therapy as "SHOCK Therapy." Using this term further enforces the negative stigma and associations for the mentally ill in public.

I am currently receiving ECT, and this post is not under my real name because of the negative stigma.

I made the decision to undergo ECT after three major depressive episodes that have cost me my job and nearly my marriage. ECT is now done under sedation is nearly painless. ECT has broken this episode of depression after both medications and therapys have failed me.

Thanks,

Stephen from Buffalo

P.S. Please don't post my e-mail address. Thanks.

Sent by Stephen, From Buffalo | 2:59 PM | 7-25-2007

NPR does a disservice by having three guests that are all pro-electroshock. Electroshock is one of the most controversial procedures in mental health. So why not allow some actual discussion from both sides of the story? This isn't the first time NPR has excluded the point of view of those critical of the current mental health system. The same has happened on many stories involving psychiatric drugs.

Sent by David W. Oaks | 3:09 PM | 7-25-2007

I have a sister who is bipolar. ECT saved her live. We endured months of severe depression, that drugs could not touch. I dropped her off for treatment at 5AM she was basically sucicidal. I picked her up at 7:15AM and she was perfectly normal, except memory loss (had even forgot how bad she was a few hours earlier!). ECT proved immediately that depression is a chemical disorder of the brain.

Sent by Diana | 3:12 PM | 7-25-2007

My mother-in-law underwent ECT for 6 months. It helped to take her out of a psychotic depression back to a more normal existence. She is 85 years old and also has some dementia, so it is not clear what memory loss has resulted. But we credit ECT with bringing her back to life. She is now physically frail and unable to tolerate the ECT, so we are dealing with antidepressants and their side effects.

Sent by karen | 3:13 PM | 7-25-2007

My mother had several treatments a couple years apart each and she experienced major memory loss. Each treatment worked for some time but she needed another treatment1-2 yrs apart. When I became of age I stepped in and stopped it, thinking it was barbaric. That was 25-30 years ago. She has suffered from depression for years since and has been on meds. Her memory has started coming back a few yrs ago and she remembers the most peculiar things but no memory of the treatments or her illness. She is now 80 and no longer depressed and enjoys a great family life.

Sent by Geri | 3:14 PM | 7-25-2007

I am a victim, a survivor,
of coerced shock treatment.
Peop[le are routinely convinced that to submit to shock treatment for their own goo. People who refused are csaid to be iccapable of making decisions. Copurts will then oprder the procedure. Shock works by causing cognitive impairments. Forced ttreatment is torture. You may use my name, as I am a public figure in the effort to sxpose and stop forced shocktreatment.

Sent by george ebert | 3:16 PM | 7-25-2007

Hemingway on ECT: What these shock doctors don't know is about writers and such things as remorse and contrition and what they do to them. They should make all psychiatrists take a course in creative writing so they'd know about writers 'Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient. It's a bum turn, Hotch, a terrible.' Ernest Hemingway, to an interviewer at the Mayo Clinic where Hemingway received shock therapy. (After a second set of ECT, he killed himself with a shotgun.)

My mother had many rounds of ECT as well as Insulin Shock Therapy. She died of a brain tumor. Her roommate in the hospital (also dying of a brain tumor) was also a victim of ECT.

Sent by Chris T. | 3:29 PM | 7-25-2007

No need to interview survivors of shock if you deem them non-credible for some reason. If you want to know about subjective experiences of brain damage (iatrogenic or otherwise) just interview survivors of closed head injuries like car or motorcycle accident victims. The traumatic effects of brain injury are very well documented, but somehow never applied to the ever-increasing masses of iatrogenic trauma populated by decades of psychiatric quackery. At what point does common sense and empirical evidence overwhelm mystical claims to authority by the well-paid heirs to Benjamin Rush? NPR has the blood of women and children on its hands.

Sent by rich winkel | 3:29 PM | 7-25-2007

Why do doctors cause brain damage instead of nurturing difficult emotions into personal growth? See the benefits of crying and screaming for post-traumatic growth in Get Over It: http://www.utne.com/issues/2006_136/promo/12168-1.html

As a trauma survivor, I know when faced with extreme fear and pain the mind can protect itself by shutting off feeling and awareness. When a person can't feel pain, they can't feel other people's pain. They go through life on an even keel, not realizing when harm occurs. This could explain why many psychiatrists do not realize when they inflict pain. Trauma survivors remain in denial. So, they will never stop themselves from causing harm. Only we can stop them.

When people, including doctors, have been so hurt that they can't even remember what hurt them, they still have a deep, instinctive reaction to fight back. Since they were too afraid to face and fight what hurt them, their urge to fight realeases when it can, on vulnerable patients whose feelings raise the horror of trauma that they must suppress to feel they can survive. Since they have cut off feeling, they don't realize why they treat patients as they do. People who are unaware of the importance of feelings don't consider the big picture of all consequences of treatment on the person's life. It's obvious many psychiatrists are unaware of the value of feelings because they chose a profession that is based on opposing feelings as wrong and unhelpful. However, processing painful feelings actually leads to the most wonderful growth and joy available to people in life, including passions like love.

Sent by Irene | 3:34 PM | 7-25-2007

I don't know anyone personally, but in the documentary Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette, He speaks of how his mother fell from a roof when she was a teenager, landed on her feet, but did not bend her kees. She shouldn't have been paralyzed, but claimed she was, and so she under went Electro Shock therapy. She ultimatly developed schizophrenia. There were no reported signs of schizophrenia before she underwent the shock treatments. I guess this would be an example of older versions of the treatemnt, since this would have happened in the 60's. None-the-less, the sheer fact that doctors to this day don't really know what about it works, along with horror stories like this are disturbing.

Sent by Sydney Freedman | 3:36 PM | 7-25-2007

A much safer treatment for depression is cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), which uses a tiny amount of current that is applied simply through ear clips. The modality has FDA approval for use with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. A mild pulse is delivered to the earlobes in the microcurrent range at ultra-low frequency of 0.5 Hz. The sensation is experienced as a gentle, mild pulse, and most users feel no sensation at all other than feeling deeply relaxed and alert. Perhaps NPR would include discussion of CES in future broadcasts?

Sent by Melora | 3:40 PM | 7-25-2007

My father at 78 years old began having severe symptoms of psychosis and anxiety. He was hospitalized and promptly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Due to having been admiited through the Emergency Room, no one had bothered to explore our strong family history for depression. After several weeks and a downward spiral, he was almost catatonic. His family felt certain that it was a major depressive episode, but the attending physician remained firmly in the camp of Alzheimer's disease. Upon garnering a second opinion which concurred with the possibility of depression and that no other treatment was working, the physician reluctantly gave in to our desire to try ECT. It was a MIRACULOUS and immediate turnaround for my father, who woke up and asked for a glass of water, after having been days without any response to his surroundings. Upon his discharge from the hospital a week later, the psychiatrist (reluctantly, I think) added "major depressive episode" to his discharge diagnosis. My father has been maintaining stable health with depressiion medications since then. There is quite a bit of overlap in the elderly between Depression and Alzheimer's, as many symptoms overlap and today's medical community seems eager to diagnose the latter before exploring the former.

Sent by Mary Lou | 3:41 PM | 7-25-2007

Can shock therapy be used to interrupt a "stuck" circuit when teens or others have oppositional defiant disorder of stuck ways of thinking?

Sent by casey | 3:42 PM | 7-25-2007

A follow-up... I continue to listen to the show on electroshock. And indeed, my concern has proven true: all the guests and almost all the callers are pro-electroshock! One caller said she had trouble with her electroshock in October 2006, that her mother heard her waking up screaming after the electroshock. This caller said she was now instead pursuing alternatives, and that was the end of her call. And that's it, in terms of the other side of the story!

Perhaps some mental health professionals could be on the show to analyze why it is that so many journalists and producers in mainstream media lose their professionalism, fairness, and critical powers when it comes to issues involving the mental health system?

After Virginia Tech tragedy, Talk of the Nation has me on as a guest for a little while, on the subject of forced psychiatric drugging. Thought outnumbered, I did manage to get in a few points about human rights. Thanks NPR. But this was apparently the exception.

I encourage people to go to web sites critical of shock to hear the other side ofthe story such as www.mindfreedom.org, www.ect.org, www.breggin.com, and more.

And everyone, please consider talking to NPR editors and producers and the NPR ombudsperson about this systemic, persistent, and extreme media bias at NPR!

David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Sent by David Oaks | 3:43 PM | 7-25-2007

MY BROTHER WAS ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES WHO RECEIVED APROX 3 TREATMENTS ONLY AND GOT WELL. THIS TX WAS THE LAST HOPE AFTER 6 MONTHS OF TERRIBLE DEPRESSION IN WHICH HE COULD NOT EVEN WORK AND AFTER A FAILED ATTENT TO KILL HIMSELF. IT WAS A BLESSING.

Sent by BRILLIDT OSPINA | 3:48 PM | 7-25-2007

My mom had shock treatments in the late 40's. I have read some of her letters where she described it. She was very depresses. She had two or three rounds of treatments. She dealt with continued depression most of her life. She also returned to a small community where she had to deal with shame and stigma issues. Very tough. In those days no addtional support. Very sad. My father had treatments to deal with his depression in his 80's. So desperate to feel better emotionally. The psychologist was detached and non supportive except referring him and treatment. So easy to make money.
It was a dilemna for me since I strongly thought it wrong. I am not open to it but also know everyone has to decide for themselves. I personally think our western culture is repressed and depression is a big issue. My fear is that shock treatments repress feelings that need to be released.

Sent by Cyndi Dieken | 4:02 PM | 7-25-2007

Western doctors see things from the outside in terms of symptoms, instead of seeing them from the inside and valuing difficult feelings. Americans are too concerned with feeling good instead of growing through difficulties to become wiser people. Many family members want to help a patient. Others have been abused and have become sadistic and abusive. They route a family member toward psychiatry to control and abuse them further. Electroshock erases memories of being abused, so the abuser feels safer and relieved. I think some treatments are so painful that patients block the pain out of consciousness but are still dominated by it. They "like" treatment out of an unconscious fear of being hurt worse if they don't. Testimony is coerced in torture situations through shock, such as with the nurses in Libya involved with giving AIDs to hospital patients.

If MRIs were given before and after treatment, damage caused would be documented. These tests should be mandated to keep psychiatry accountable. Over 100 years of autopsy evidence has shown that psychiatric treatment causes brain damage. See what electroshock survivors look like by clicking through pages at http://mindfreedom.org

There are healthy ways to change mental energy so it flows harmoniously. These include meditating, acupuncture, herbal medicine (which is the basis for pharmaceuticals) and yoga. It requires an open heart to accept tragedies that have befallen patients -- a heart that embraces and values feelings. How many psychiatrists can do this?

Sent by Irene | 4:10 PM | 7-25-2007

I was subjected to ten ECT treatments in 1988 due to major depression and I made the mistake of telling a therapist that I sometimes thought of suicide. I'm still here, so the medical industry would call the treatments successful. The treatments were terrifying, particularly the paralysis while remaining conscious. The very well remembered terror made me vow to never again allow myself to get that depressed. So far, that has worked.

Sent by John Shepardson | 5:14 PM | 7-25-2007

An excellent counterpoint to ECT is something called Health Realization. It is practiced by Dr. William Pettit at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He has had excellent results with seriously depressed individuals who saw ECT as their only choice. I wonder if there is a way to present Health Realization as an alternative therapy to ECT in the same way that medication or Cognitive Therapy is.

Sent by John V | 5:43 PM | 7-25-2007

Most patients I'm aware of who have undergone ECT have done so as a very last resort, following weeks or months of terrific suffering despite their own and doctors' best efforts at medicinal, therapeutic, homeopathic or other approaches.

It is unconscionable to think there are patients who have been forced or coerced into this procedure; however, when a depressed or schizophrenic patient seems beyond reason and family members in good conscience obtain a declaration of incompetency in order to override his or her objections, this I believe cannot be categorically included as "force" or "coercion."

Sent by Mary Lou | 7:11 PM | 7-25-2007

I have gone through minor depressions, but never taken any medication or had treatments because I did not know I had depressions. Now I have learned to accept who I am and made peace with me. Loosing memory by having ETC may be a blessing in disguise. If constantly bothered by painful memory that causes depression then it may be better off to loose some of the memory. Just concentrate to create happier memory when the treatment is working. Personally, I am to busy to make a living than being depressed.

Sent by Takako Nelson | 11:01 PM | 7-25-2007

I just had this treatment for the first tiem week before last. I was terrified--my doctor did not spend much time talking to me beforehand--and coem on!!! IT's anaestehetic and inducing a seizure!!! I had heard so many varying sotries of memory loss that I figured it would be ok--most peopel do NOT have devastating loss of memory. And you knwo what else?? My memory--and cognitive skills---had deteriorated so badly during this especially bad last year of my illness, my mother and I agreed--I really had nothing to lose memory-wise (it really was that bad...) Then when listening to the story this evening I realized...Memory loss??? I've been depressed my whole life--who cares if I forget THAT???
I'm jsut amazed to hear about all these people whose course of illness ahs been so much shorter and less severe than mine gettig shocked. I always tought it was jus tlast,last resort. After my treatment I aassked soembody (can't remember who...lol) wha tif they had done this years ago and I could have had a life?? My mental illness has robbed me of a spouse, children (my only child was stillborn), the ability to work and support myself--to make something of myself...but I jsut cant' go there. Besides, I'm not out of the woods anyway. I was hypomanic enough after the third treatment to discontinue, but have had severe probelms since then sleeping and modulating my moods--but then, I hae always had a tendency to freak out (not everyone has that.) I noticed a change after the first treatment, btu I find the prep, etc grueling, not to mention beign locked up and at their mercy the day of the procedure. The last 2 tiems I had the post-ictal headache that won't go away for anything. you can't eat ro drink after midnight the day before, even if they dont' get to you until 9:15 (thirsty!!!) Then when you are taken home, you cannot drive at all the rest of the day.

But I sould definitely recommend it. I'm disabled because of my mental illness...

Sent by daffodil67 | 1:30 AM | 7-26-2007

As a member of my local public radio station, I often turn to NPR to hear views other than those promoted by the mainstream media on a range of issues. As a former state mental health official and an advocate for human rights in the jmental health system, I'm almost always extremely disappointed when I hear anything about psychiatry on an NPR program. For some inexplicable reason, NPR persists in mainly hosting pro-traditional psychiatry guests and programs. I've heard people on the right complain that NPR is "unbalanced" in its viewpoints. As a person with progressive politics, I feel that NPR is "unbalanced" by its consistent portrayal of only the right-wing side of issues about psychiatry.

Sent by Darby Penney | 11:48 AM | 7-26-2007

People support mental treatments, thinking it's the "cool" thing to do to reserve the stigma. However, the real "cool" and unconventional thing to do is to support the right of people to express feelings -- to walk down the street if they've suffered a trauma, and cry, and scream, and wail, and fear, and be allowed to exist with the whole range of human feelings exactly as they are. You see, society does not allow this. It represses feeling. Psychiatry is the cornerstone that allows this to happen. It is the status quo. It is conservative. Liberating people to feel is what is liberal.

I think it's often not patients that can't take bad feelings. It's the psychiatrists or families that can take it. The patients want to please them, aching for support. Feelings are contagious. People around the patient can feel them. If those people can't take feeling, they encourage the patient to accept a treatment that stops feelings. I love people and their feelings. I think feelings are what is precious about humanity. People's feelings are what calls my heart to care about them. Exploring difficult feelings enables people to recognize what makes them feel bad. Feelings are a strong and energetic form of power and defense. Taking away feelings takes away a person's defenses against people who don't support their real feelings.

Many abuse victims automatically agree with abuse and do not recognize it as such because giving in makes it easier to take. The same is true for people who use drugs that feel good but result in brain damage. Anti-depressants have effects like that of cocaine and methamphetamine. Just because something feels good does not mean it is good, in the big picture.

Sent by Irene | 3:58 PM | 7-26-2007

While I haven't had ETC, I was very interested in your program as I too have severe depression that hasn't responded well to medication. Something none of your speakers pointed out is that the medications also cause memory loss, and some cognitive loss, and it is ongoing, not just in one session. I too have forgotten books, events, movies, discussions. I often now have to visualize a word to speak it. But it's better than feeling the profound sense of hopelessness, worthlessness that the depression cycles bring.
As to your other posters, so many have obviously never felt depression (like Irene) and have no clue. Their uneducated opinions are harmful to those of us who must undergo treatments or die. I pity any family members they may have that suffer from depression.

Sent by Pat | 7:06 PM | 7-26-2007

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been a subject of controversy, for good reasons. It can be life saving, it can cause irreparable memory and cognitive damage. Much depends on the technique of ECT used. In the past, sine wave ECT stimuli caused more memory damage than current brief pulse ECT. Nowadays, ultra-brief-pulse ECT that we promoted 22 years ago, is the industry standard. The technology for effective and harmless ECT exists, but funding to make it available does not. ECT could be administered for depression, schizophrenia or Parkinsons disease without the current perils of memory loss, cognitive impairment and social stigma, using automated dosing technique. It has been used in Canada for 4 years, in Czech Republic for 11 years, but it has not been marketed commercially.

Commercialization of a product is beyond my expertise as a psychiatrist, so I don't have an idea when an effective and safe ECT will become available, but I am certain it could be soon if there is enough support for it.

Thank you for bringing attention to this important but often neglected issue,

Sincerely,

Vaclav Hyrman, MD

Sent by Vaclav Hyrman | 10:01 PM | 7-26-2007

Having a show with three people all on the same side without someone to talk about the effects of ECT and the harms caused by it is unfair and unprofessional. There are many people who have been harmed by ECT. My step-mother was given ECT and subsequently started drinking heavily and became an alcoholic -- to blunt the pain of the ECT and memory loss as well as the sense of betrayal that her family would do that to her. To see the other side of the issue people should go to:
www.ect.org
http://endofshock.com
http://capacanada.wordpress.com
http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca
www.mindfreedom.org
www.idiom.com/~drjohn/ect.html

Read what survivors say!

Sent by Sylvia | 10:39 AM | 7-27-2007

It's not right to assume people who oppose ECT haven't experienced horrible depression. We wouldn't be passionate about psychiatry if it hadn't impacted our lives. Some of us have experienced excruciating terror, anguish and extreme desperation. We have somehow embraced the struggle, against the odds and against social pressure, freed ourselves from harmful treatments with tremendous willpower. We have come out, dogged and depleted, continuing to speak up and defend others from these grievous assaults. For some of us, our minds were the most precious thing we had developed throughout our lives. They brought us joy, delight, love and respect. Psychiatry can never give us back what it destroyed, so we are highly motivated to stop these heinous abuses from recurring. We do not like to oppose psychiatry, but we have to because it opposes first by opposing people's ebullient minds and hearts. Courts should not be allowed to force harmful treatments on people. Sure, they can subject them to time in lock-up to protect people, but not to physical damage. Except in cases where capital punishment is allowed, sentencing people to bodily harm is simply wrong. Harmless ways to re-route energy through the brain include acupuncture, which can involve electrical stimulation. Depressed people can research that first and consult with a highly experienced acupuncture doctor.

Let's see the whole picture of what these treatments do instead of isolating them into silos of symptoms and side effects. It's not just memory loss that ECT causes. It's brain damage across the board, because the flow of energy is the basis for how the entire brain and body functions. This flow has built itself up over a person's life. Short-circuiting it erases the body's wisdom from experience. You'll notice people who have undergone ECT make more errors in their use of language than people who haven't. For example, Mrs. Dukakis can only think of "lemon" not "Nicholson" when she thinks of his character's brain being squashed into a lemon in the Cuckoo's Nest. If our compassion extends to the point of blindness -- to unite in feeling with people who are blind to the execution of harm -- then what purpose does our compassion serve? Why don't psychiatrists rigorously measure negative effects after treatment? Why do they discount criticism as mental disturbance? If they never feel bad about what they do, they are never highly motivated to do better.

Sent by Irene | 3:16 PM | 7-27-2007

Depression is a brain disorder. It is not about choosing to feel bad or expressing one's feelings. Studies of the hippocampus in people who suffered from depression show a volume loss of up to 20%. Nobody would tell someone who suffers from Type I diabetes to forego using insulin. Yes depression is a complex disease and there usually isn't an easy fix, but going on about ECT without any information about the disease of depression is really simple minded. Also - it is up to a person who suffers from this disease to decide their path of treatment. There are risks in all treatments and usually there are side effects. Every human being has a one in five thousand chance of dying in a car crash each time they get in a car, but I bet most of you opposed to ECT still get in cars on a daily basis.

Sent by Rachel | 11:09 AM | 7-30-2007

Many people are not given a choice. They are forced or coerced into treatment by people who don't fully inform them because they can't face the damage it causes. Medicine doesn't instantly adapt to new research from quantum physics. The mind affects the body. What we think changes our biology. All matter is energy, including the hippocampus. Thoughts are also energy, so they can affect the hippocampus. Biological factors, like genes, don't control behavior. They are simply copying patterns. They aren't active until triggered by environmental stimuli. See: http://www.brucelipton.com/

Please understand I only oppose harmful treatments because I promote patients. Doctors should inform patients of treatments from other cultures. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees the big picture of how patients interact with their environment. In contrast, Western medicine blames only one isolated part of the patient's body as the problem. Eastern medicine can work more gradually to heal the problem from the root, opening patients up to love and success for the rest of their lives.

I tried both Eastern and Western medicine for the same problem. With Western medicine, my life went downhill fast. People noticed. With Eastern medicine, for the first time in 10 years, I felt hope for my future. People noticed again. I know depressed people may not feel motivated to research treatments. I just try to keep making progress, however gradually.

The culture which TCM comes from incorporates the concept of change. It sees problems as temporary, whereas Western culture sees them as permanent. To Eastern culture, things get really dark right before they start to get light. When my life got so bad I couldn't bear it, finally a will to survive kicked in. I left situations that caused grief and torment. When loved ones are involved, it's easy to feel wrong about needing space, at first. People have long consulted the "I Ching" or "Book of Changes" for advice. Recently I asked it, "How can I stop thinking about what bothers me?" The answer was to make gradual progress by developing inner light.

Sent by Irene | 4:32 PM | 7-30-2007

ECT is like killing a fly with a sledge hammer! A much safer and painless and non-invasive treatment is EEG Biofeedback, also know as Neurofeedback or Brainwave Training, which is having great success with many disabilities. See eeginfo.com for lots of good information. Why doesn't NPR do some coverage of this really healing alternative therapy?

Sent by Katya | 5:17 PM | 7-30-2007

And yes, I do limit the amount I drive precisely because driving is dangerous. I didn't value my life and health so much until psychiatric medicine deteriorated it in a few short years. But hey, anyone is welcome to choose psychiatric medicine just like I did. I learned the hard way, as do so many others. I still have severe pain, which feels like it is in my nerves, that began with medication I was given three years ago. For three years -- this pain! The medication probably damaged my nerves, but I can't ask a psychiatrist to test this, because they don't test whether they damage nerves. Plus, they can lock a person up just for having thoughts of death, which are, by the way, quite normal.

The pain in my nerves is so bad, I just block off my awareness of everything I would otherwise sense because I can't take feeling what my nerves do sense. Psychiatrists shouldn't affect the nervous system until they first understand it. Technologies to see how treatments affect the flow of energy in the nervous system are available. They should use them, to show they value us and our delicate systems. I feel pain from psychiatry, so I will speak up until the pain goes away. This is the use of pain.

Sent by Irene | 1:41 AM | 8-1-2007

I am an RN who assissts patients with their ECT treatments. It is not a panacea for all patients suffering depression, but with good Psychiatric care the patients I see treated benefit greatly and yes I believe for some it is life saving.

Sent by Candy Watzek RN | 6:03 PM | 8-1-2007

Of course people who administer this procedure and who want to be good people want to believe this treatment is good. But the point is, this form of medicine is not based on belief. Let's use the facts. Let's take medical tests of the state of energy flowing through neurons and of neuronal structures -- both in individiual cells and entire neural networks -- over the entire space of the nervous system and over time in the patient's life -- to see what this therapy is actually doing. Let's take the tests before and after, on every patient. I think you'll find that people who have looked at it this way are saying: brain damage. Maybe some people believe brain damage helps people. But is that really what we want to do when harmless treatments that are just as effective at reducing symptoms are available in other forms of medicine? If we are being true to medical science, we don't have to see only what we want to believe. People are too valuable to not test the true medical effects of treatment on the inside of every patient's body.

Sent by Irene | 5:16 PM | 8-6-2007

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