Blog

15 Jan
0

Mental Health Watchdog Aims to Protect Elderly from Baker Act Abuse

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to exposing human rights violations as well as protecting the elderly, applauds lawmakers for addressing the issue of Elder Abuse during the current legislative session in Tallahassee.

The overall mental health law in Florida, commonly referred to as the Baker Act, allows for the legalized involuntary examination of senior citizens. When a Baker Act occurs an elderly person can be sent against their will for an examination and the receiving facility is then legally allowed to hold the senior for up to 72 hours. According to the Annual Report on the Baker Act, released in March of 2017, there were 194,354 involuntary examinations in 2016 — more than doubling from 2001 — with 1 in 10 initiated on persons 65 years of age or older.

“CCHR is very concerned that the Baker Act is being abused. Seniors, especially those with dementia, are being taken from their homes or care facilities for psychiatric examinations when they don’t actually meet the criteria for a Baker Act in the first place,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “Seeing quite a few bills introduced this year with the intention of protecting the rights of elderly citizens shows that our lawmakers are concerned about this issue and want to make positive change.”

Over 13,800 of Florida’s elderly, including those with dementia, were sent for involuntary psychiatric examinations in 2016, forcing the stress of physical transport to Baker Act facilities on these seniors. It is well documented that transferring an elderly person, and specifically one suffering from dementia, puts them at risk for depression, anxiety, and similar behavior disturbances, which may then result in the senior being treated with unnecessary psychotropic drugs which come with many side effects.

Moreover, senior citizens who find themselves admitted for psychiatric evaluation are sometimes later informed that the criteria for Baker Acting was never met, that there was no evidence of mental illness, and instead it was found by clinical staff the senior simply needed rest, proper nutrition, or an adjustment to baseline medication.

Additionally, polypharmacy, which is the concurrent use of multiple medications, has doubled in the past decade among retirement-age Americans despite warnings from geriatric medical organizations. In fact, the number of office visits resulting in multiple pharmaceutical prescription has risen from 1.5 million in 2004 to 3.68 million in 2013 — more than a 50% increase — with rural areas showing the highest surge. Those diagnosed with dementia are even more susceptible to polypharmacy and specifically psychotropic drugging. According to the Office of the Inspector General, 304,983 elderly nursing home residents in the U.S. were given dangerous and often deadly antipsychotic drugs, 88% of which were prescribed off-label for dementia.

“Many retirement-age Americans are taking at least 3 psychiatric drugs but yet don’t have a mental health diagnosis on record,” said Stein. “It is our duty to protect our state’s elderly and many of the changes to the law being proposed this year will help ensure our seniors receive the care and help they deserve.”

For more information on the protection of elder rights under the mental health law, please call 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org.

Sources:

http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

https://hernandosun.com/Baker_Act_A_Dementia_Dilemma_7_29_16

http://www.heu.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research_reports/HEU_Literature_Review_Sept23_2002.pdf

https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/November-2010/A-Real-Issue-for-Many-Individuals-With-Dementia

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/health/psychiatric-drugs-prescriptions.html?_r=1

https://www.cchrint.org/issues/protectelderly/

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=dementia&URL=0300-0399/0394/Sections/0394.467.html

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First Responders
08 Jan
0

Florida Bills Could Force Taxpayers To Fund Harmful Psychiatric Services for First Responders

First RespondersCurrent Florida statutes require that there be clear and convincing evidence of mental or nervous injury to determine benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation law for Florida’s first responders. However, recent bills calling for revisions to the standard for demonstrating these types of injuries has landed on the 2018 session agenda for Tallahassee legislators’ vote and these changes could potentially endanger first responders through the increased prescription of psychiatric drugs.

If passed, these bills would remove the requirement that a physical injury accompany a mental or nervous injury in order to determine benefits for Florida’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. Supporters of the change cite the number of firefighters who commit suicide each year as the reason the change needs to be made, while opponents state that the cost to taxpayers is prohibitive.

While everyone agrees that first responders need help, easier state-funded access to psychiatric services will most likely simply result in higher prescription rates and, unfortunately, more prescription drug-related deaths. According to the most recent Medical Examiners Report published in November 2017, prescription drugs, including psychiatric drugs, continued to be found more often than illicit drugs, both as the cause of death and present at death, accounting for 61% of all drug occurrences in the report. The drug that caused the most deaths was cocaine followed closely by benzodiazepines, which are a class of psychiatric drugs used to treat depression and anxiety . Benzodiazepines have been linked to confusion, irritability, aggression, and suicide.

“Although the intention of these bills may seem noble at first glance, greater access to taxpayer-funded psychiatric services through workers’ compensation is not the answer,” stated
Diane Stein, President of the Florida Chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
“Instead, our first responders deserve better — they deserve real help and easier access to successful alternative treatments.”

Sources:
1. Florida Department of Law Enforcement “Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners” https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2016-Annual-Drug-Report.aspx Published November 2017. Accessed January 7, 2018.
2. Famakinwa, J. “Florida bill to expand PTSD benefits for first responders criticized.” http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20171213/NEWS08/912317899/Florida-bill-to-expand-PTSD-benefits-for-first-responders-criticized. Published December 13, 2017. Accessed January 6, 2018.
3. Fennell, L. “Mother Says ‘I believe antidepressants drove my son to kill.’” https://www.cchrint.org/2015/05/15/mother-says-i-believe-antidepressants-drove-my-son-to-kill/. Published May 14, 2015. Accessed January 6, 2018.
4. Perry, S. “From Psychobabble to Biobabble: How drug money has come to dominate psychiatry.” https://www.cchrint.org/2010/04/15/from-psychobabble-to-biobabble-how-drug-money-has-come-to-dominate-psychiatry/. Published April 15, 2010. Accessed January 6, 2018

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21 Dec
0

Mental Health Watchdog Calling for Investigation into Psychiatric Drugging of Millions of Children

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to protection of children, is calling for an investigation into the heavy psychiatric drugging of children; especially foster children, in Florida.

A report from the research arm of Florida’s child-protection system released in 2015 showed that foster children are being put on psychotropic medications without caregivers following proper procedures and that 11 percent of the children in foster care had active prescriptions for at least one psychotropic drug. While a review of 140 children’s files showed just 20 percent of these children met all the key requirements for administering such medication.[i]

Following the tragic death of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers in 2009, who was found hanging from a shower fixture in his foster home after having been prescribed two “black box” drugs intended for adults – the Florida policies for using psychotropic drugs on foster kids were updated but this has not solved the problem.

The psychiatric drugging of children is not just confined to the foster care system. In 2011 a two-year investigation concluded that kids in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas were “prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than other children in Medicaid in 2008.”[ii]

Currently 8 million U.S. children are being prescribed psychiatric drugs, with more than 1 million between the ages of zero to five.[iii]   Children are being drugged simply because psychiatry has pathologized normal childhood behaviors, and repackaged them as “mental disorders.”  The result is that millions of children are being drugged for behaviors reclassified by psychiatry as “disease.”

As a result, CCHR is calling for an investigation into the psychiatric drugging of children in the United States. Individuals are invited to the center, located at 109 N. Fort Harrison Avenue in downtown Clearwater, to learn more about the dangers associated with psychiatric drugs as well as alternatives to medication. To learn more, please call 727-442-8820.

Sources:

[i] http://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2015/09/22/report-finds-florida-foster-kids-put-on-psychotropic-drugs-without-following-proper-procedures

[ii] http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/12/01/143017520/foster-kids-even-infants-more-likely-to-be-given-psychotropic-drugs

[iii] https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/children-on-psychiatric-drugs/

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21 Dec
1

ECT: The Ultimate Child Abuse

It is hard for many to believe that ECT is still legally performed. Yet many psychologists and psychiatrists still insist this barbaric “treatment” does something more than damage brains.

For instance, Edward Shorter, PhD believes that sending up to 450 volts of electricity through a child’s (or an adult’s) developing brain is a good thing, a sort of therapy. Here is what he has to say:

“There has been an unwritten taboo in psychiatry, and a reaction of shock and horror in the general population, to the idea of giving convulsive therapy to those under 18.

“But is this unfavorable reaction wise? Are we denying children access to a treatment that is safe and effective in adults?

“This denial is not compatible with good medical ethics, which demand that we make effective treatments of proven benefit available to all, regardless of social class, gender, economic status, or age. We do not deny the elderly hip transplants or heart transplants because they are elderly.

“But we deny children access to convulsive therapy…This is ageism in reverse, and terribly unfair.” 1

Terribly unfair? Many people would find Edward Shorter’s comments offensive at best. He is comparing a life-saving heart transplant to an act of incredible violence against a child, an act that may permanently damage that youngster’s chance for a normal, happy life.

Shorter insults legislators who have banned ECT for children by calling them “crackers in the state legislature” He says “The arrogance, the provincial, uninformed, know-nothing arrogance, defies the imagination.”

What defies the imagination is the arrogance of men like Shorter, who have absolutely no proof that ECT is safe for children or anyone, yet blindly insist that ECT should be as popular as penicillin in treating anyone, even children, who are suffering with mental distress.2

On the website Aftershock, a woman named Jane poignantly describes the trauma and heartache this brutal psychiatric treatment created in her life.

“I relive my own grief and trauma. I grieve for all the people who are duped into thinking shock would help, and they would return to their lives made whole by electrically induced seizures.

“I experience grief every time a person stops by the shock support group asked us shock veterans how long it took before we started feeling normal again- for our memories return. Answer? Many of us never recovered. Were permanently disabled. And countless irreplaceable memories are lost forever. This person is on the verge of realizing a horrible reality; they were lied to. Their damage will likely be unrecognized. Help will be withheld. Cultivated skills, and capacity to learn and love, may be lost forever. Their most precious memories; walking down the aisle on their wedding day, their children’s childhoods, friends and all the other prized moments that tell them, this is who you are, these are the people who gave your live meaning.

“The life they lived before and the world they knew are gone.

“I grieve even more for those who never chose shock, but had it forced on them…”

She then continues, referring to the abuse children have undergone at the hands of psychiatrists and their ECT treatment:

“I grieve over those shocked against their will like Wendy Funk, children like Ted Chabsinski, Sue Clark Whittenberg and Julia Hoeffler Welton. People violently assaulted, many left to carry their trauma along with their damage long after it occurred.

“They didn’t even have the illusion of informed consent like many of us did.

“All of this suffering, all of this heart ache, and doctors like the ones who conducted this study maintain their willful blindness and enthusiastically promote this destruction assault to the brains of suffering people.” 3

The victims of ECT are speaking out. Their words, difficult though they may be to face, are the words that should be listened to regarding ECT. These men and women know firsthand what it is like to live with permanent brain damage inflicted by a psychiatrist and his ECT device.

One might think of it as a “review” of sorts. When looking for a new computer, reading the hype written by the computer manufacturer will not be as helpful as googling the opinion of recent users.

The psychiatrist has a vested interest in promoting this device. But victims of ECT have experienced the violence of this device first-hand and many of them are not afraid to make their tragic stories of permanent brain damage known.

Sources:

1    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-everyone-became-depressed/201312/electroconvulsive-therapy-in-children

2    ibid

3    https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/tag/brain-damage-recovery/

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Texas Church Mass Shooting
16 Nov
0

Psychiatric History Leads to Another Mass Shooting

Texas Church Mass Shooting

First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas (Image Source: MGN)

Recently, former psychiatric patient Devin P. Kelley opened fire on churchgoers in Texas murdering 26 innocent people and injuring another 20. Kelley had a long history of psychiatric drug use, beginning as a teenager when he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and then medicated in high school. One of his classmates revealed that Kelley had complained about the medication he was taking.

Kelley had been suspended at least seven times in school, and his record revealed a series of disciplinary offenses. These included drug use, profanity, dishonesty and insubordination.

Kelley’s history of problems did not end with graduation. While in the Air Force in 2012, he escaped from a psychiatric hospital. He was caught by the local police, who had been told he’d made death threats against his superiors and had attempted to smuggle weapons onto his base.

Kelley had a history of violence, having assaulted his wife and badly injured his baby stepson, leaving him with a fractured skull. He had also been investigated by a Sheriff’s Office on a rape and sexual assault charge in New Braunfels, Texas in 2013.

After moving to a recreational vehicle park in Colorado Springs, four witnesses told the police Kelley had chased down his dog, punched it, yelled at it and dragged it into his camper. He was charged with animal cruelty, and pleaded guilty.1

The man repeatedly manifested symptoms of violence against people and animals.

Psychiatric Drugs linked to Violence

 It is not speculation that psychiatric drugs can lead to violent and sometimes homicidal behavior. In a Time online article, it was revealed that “certain medications — most notably, some antidepressants like Prozac — have also been linked to increase risk for violent, even homicidal behavior.”

The article then states. “A new study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published in the journal PloS One (a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science) and based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others.”

The drugs included in this list are several antidepressants, two ADHD drugs and Chantix, an anti-smoking medication. 2

There is an acknowledged link between violent behavior and psychiatric drugs. The fact that no one knows who will snap while taking these drugs adds an element of terror, like a game of Russian Roulette on a societal scale.

Increase of Psychiatric Drug use = Increase in Mass Shootings?

Not all psychiatric drug users become homicidal maniacs. But obviously, those that do murder on a smaller or a massive scale are indistinguishable to the psychiatric profession. There has been no responsibility taken for these tragic incidents by either the drug companies manufacturing them or the psychiatrists prescribing them.

The random nature of mass shootings reflects the massive prescribing of these drugs. At least one in six Americans now take a psychiatric drug. In 2013, 17 percent of adults reported filling a prescription for a psychiatric medication. 3

If only a small percentage of those patients have a reaction resulting in homicidal behavior, the ramifications for society are massive.

For those experiencing mental distress, there are alternatives to psychiatric drugs. With what is known now about the violent side effects possible in susceptible people, there is no excuse for the continuing prescribing of these drugs.

1   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/us/texas-shooting-church.html

2   http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/07/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence/

3   https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/1-in-6-americans-takes-a-psychiatric-drug/

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Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida, presented the 2017 CCHR Humanitarian Award to Jacksonville attorney Mr. Justin Drach
16 Nov
2

CCHR Florida Presents Humanitarian Award to an Attorney Dedicated to Stopping Mental Health Abuses

Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida, presented the 2017 CCHR Humanitarian Award to Jacksonville attorney Mr. Justin Drach

Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida, presented the 2017 CCHR Humanitarian Award to Jacksonville attorney Mr. Justin Drach

A prominent Florida attorney was presented with the CCHR Humanitarian Award during a banquet held at the historic Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater for his work to expose and prevent fraudulent involuntary psychiatric examinations known as Baker Acts.

Hundreds of guests attended the 2nd Annual Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Humanitarian Awards Banquet for the purpose of honoring the many dedicated volunteers and supporters of CCHR for their work in the field of mental health reform.

The guest of honor, and recipient of the 2017 CCHR Humanitarian Award, was Jacksonville attorney Mr. Justin Seth Drach for his work to end unlawful Baker Acting of men, woman and children in Florida.

In accepting the award, Mr. Drach said, “Today, in Florida, one of the greatest evils is fraudulent Baker Acts. I make no bones about it, there is an epidemic of greed and abuse in medicine, especially the treatment of mental illness.”

While the original intent of the Baker Act was to ensure patient rights and prevent abuse, the Annual Report of Baker Act Data, revealed in March that in the 15 years from 2001 to 2016, involuntary examinations more than doubled, a 105.50% increase, and that 32,475 of these initiations were on children. Even more disturbing is that the mental health law allows for a child to be Baker Acted without parental knowledge.

Spearheading a campaign at the beginning of 2016 to put an end to this violation of parental rights, CCHR Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog working to expose human rights violations in the field of mental health and dedicated to the protection of children, has worked to educate families on their rights under the law at hundreds of community events reaching almost 150,000 families in the Tampa Bay area in addition to calling upon Florida lawmakers to eliminate the unjust Baker Acting of children.

“It should not be legal for a child to be taken into custody and sent for involuntary psychiatric examination without parental knowledge when the child does not meet the criteria for a Baker Act, yet this is what is happening in Florida,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida.

Stating that Florida is a target-rich environment for corporations looking to squeeze profits from filled beds and that the mental health act is weak, Mr. Drach called upon those in attendance to empathize with the mother, father, son, or daughter who has been locked behind steel doors because they have good insurance, or because the state of Florida will subsidize their bed and asked them to contribute to the legacy of putting an end to the atrocities of mental health abuse.

For more information on CCHR’s campaign to eliminate inappropriate Baker Acting of children please visit 5 Simple Steps to Help Protect Your Child, or contact CCHR at 727-442-8820 or visit the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave in Clearwater, Florida.

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Suicide Noose
27 Sep
0

CCHR Calls for Investigation into Link between Antidepressants and Teen Suicides

Suicide NooseGalvanized by reports showing suicide to be the third leading cause of death for ages 10-24[i], the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, is calling for an investigation into the link between antidepressants and teenage suicides.

In 2016 the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition reported suicide as being the third leading cause of death for teenagers in Florida[ii] but what they didn’t report was that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had previously reported in a study on teen suicide a link between suicide and psychiatric treatment.[iii] According to the JAMA study 55% -77% of the teens that developed suicidal behavior did so after being treated with psychiatric medication.

Psychology Today reports that psychiatrists have known for years about something they call “roll back” which is when antidepressants give depressed patients the energy to follow through on suicidal impulses[iv] and unfortunately there are 2,165,279 children between the ages of 0-17 on antidepressants in the United States[v] alone. This is despite the fact that the majority of antidepressants given to children are not only ineffective but potentially dangerous.[vi]

“We keep hearing cries for more mental health funding yet the facts show a definitive connection between psychiatric drugs and suicides,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “The link between antidepressants and suicides needs to be investigated especially in the case of children and teens.”

To learn more, please call 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org for more information.

[i] Suicide: Florida 2016 Facts & Figures

http://www.fasp.org/PDF_Files/Public_Policy_Professional_Relations/Florida-Facts-2016.pdf

[ii] http://www.floridasuicideprevention.org/the_facts.htm

[iii] http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1555602

[iv] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/talking-about-trauma/201305/antidepressants-and-teen-suicide

[v] Number of Children & Adolescents Taking Psychiatric Drugs in the U.S.

https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/children-on-psychiatric-drugs/

[vi] Most antidepressants don’t work on kids and teens, study finds

https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/08/antidepressants-teens-kids/

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20 Sep
0

CCHR Florida Calling for Investigation into Psychiatric Billing Fraud

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog that exposes human rights violations and is dedicated to the protection of children, is demanding answers as to why for-profit psychiatric hospitals currently under investigation for fraud are still operating as designated receiving facilities for those sent for involuntary psychiatric examination under the Baker Act.

The mental health law in Florida, commonly referred to as the Baker Act, allows for citizens to be sent for involuntary psychiatric examination at 127 public and private psychiatric wards designated as receiving facilities. These Baker Act Receiving Facilities are funded in part by the State of Florida and are contracted by Behavioral Health Managing Entities through the Department of Children and Families to receive and hold involuntary patients under emergency conditions for psychiatric evaluation and to provide short-term treatment.

As a mental health watchdog organization, CCHR has consistently received reports of alleged abuse or fraud committed in Florida’s Baker Act Receiving Facilities and as a result is demanding answers as to why private psychiatric facilities that are currently under investigation for fraud are still contracted and being paid to hold people on an involuntary basis.

An egregious example is the psychiatric and mental health facilities owned by Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS). UHS runs the largest network of private for-profit psychiatric hospitals in the United States with more than 200 psychiatric facilities across the country and has annual revenue of $7.5 billion dollars – a third of which comes from Medicare and Medicaid.[i]

Currently 26 of UHS’s behavioral-psychiatric facilities are under federal investigation by the Department of Justice Civil and Criminal Divisions, the Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the FBI for alleged fraudulent billing practices under Medicare and Medicaid.[ii] [iii]

Four of the facilities under investigation, Central Florida Behavioral Hospital, River Point Behavioral Health, University Behavioral Center and Wekiva Springs, are Baker Act Receiving Facilities in Florida and all are still open and being paid to hold citizens for involuntary psychiatric examination.

Even more concerning is that despite the complaints about UHS’s behavioral/psychiatric facilities and federal investigations into them, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration approved UHS to open a new facility, Coral Shores Behavioral Health an 80-bed mental health facility in Stuart, Florida which is also a designated Baker Act Receiving Facility.[iv]

As a result, CCHR is calling for an investigation into the designation of UHS facilities as Baker Act Receiving Facilities and is asking for anyone employed in the mental health profession, families of people who have suffered abuse in a psychiatric facility or any staff or former staff of such facilities with knowledge of healthcare fraud or psychiatric abuse to please contact CCHR with full particulars and any documentary evidence at 727-442-8820 or online at www.cchrflorida.org.

[i] http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/29/dear-gop-eliminate-waste-and-fraud-to-help-pay-for-healthcare-bill/

[ii] http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/feds-widen-fraud-probe-universal-health-services-include-headquarters

[iii] http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/report-scope-uhs-investigations-widens-to-include-multiple-federal-agencies

[iv] http://www.tcpalm.com/story/specialty-publications/progress-and-innovation/2017/02/20/profile-mental-health-facility-opening-martin-summer/97091774/

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ECT Machine
18 Sep
0

ECT: Psychiatrists Admit Harmful Effects but aren’t Worried About Them

ECT MachineDictionaries define “harmful” as coming from the word harm, which means “causing or likely to cause physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted.”

In the alternate world of psychiatry, “harm” becomes a good thing, where intentionally firing 70–150 volts of electricity through a person’s brain and causing a grand mal seizure is a “a safe and effective therapy.”

But the harm doesn’t end with this traumatic physical experience (which can last up to 30 minutes and can include repeatedly induced seizures.) [i]

Proven Memory Loss from ECT

Here is what the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry says about the “possible memory side effects” from this procedure:

“Memory loss is one of the greatest concerns of people who receive ECT. Two different kinds of memory loss may occur during the course of ECT treatments. The first is the loss of short-term memory during the period of time that you are having ECT treatments. Some examples of short-term memory loss include forgetting what you had for lunch or not remembering talking to someone earlier in the day. Your ability to remember new information will generally return to your normal level within a few weeks to a few months after the treatments are finished.

“The second type of memory loss that may occur involves memory loss for past events. Recent past events (2 to 6 weeks before treatment) are more sensitive to ECT. However, some patients may describe “spotty” memory loss for events that occurred as far back as 6 months before beginning ECT. This memory impairment is potentially permanent…” [ii]

British Psychiatrists Rave about ECT but Patients Not Thrilled

The Royal College of Psychiatrists report that when researchers analyzed experiences with ECT, those who found the procedure helpful ranged from 30% to 80%. This breaks down to only 30% of patients finding ECT helpful compared to 80% of psychiatrists who have a positive attitude about the treatment.

This Monty Python-like statement was made by the psychiatrists without a trace of humor.

Continuing in this same vein, the Royal College of Psychiatrists also admit that “Some memory problems are probably present in everyone receiving ECT. Most people feel better after the course of ECT has finished and a few weeks have passed.”

These British psychiatrists also state that “some people do complain that their memory has been permanently affected, that their memories never come back.”

Finally, “It is not clear how much of this is due to the ECT, and how much is due to the depressive illness or other factors.” [iii] Really? This genuine inability to observe cause and effect is why psychiatrists have not been able to cure anything in over 200 years.

How Exactly does ECT Work?

It depends who you ask. Here are some theories expressed by mental health experts:

  1. “The theory goes like this — depression isn’t caused by too little brain activity. It’s actually caused by too much brain activity, an overactive brain that has accidentally “hot-wired” multiple brain networks together. (How and why this hot-wiring occurs is still a mystery.) So how can ECT undo this hot-wiring? It’s theorized that ECT may undo this hot-wiring, and return the brain’s neural networks to normal functioning…” – Dr. John M. Grohol , Expert and Researcher for mental health online[iv]
  2. “It clearly rejigs the electrical wiring of the brain in some way…when somebody’s having a heart attack and their heart stops, you get them going again by putting the paddles on their chest…ECT is the kind of cerebral version. But why it is that electricity rejigs the wiring of the brain is [not totally known].” – Edward Shorter of the University of Toronto, a social historian of medicine[v]
  3. “No-one is certain how ECT works. We do know that it can change patterns of blood flow through the brain and change the metabolism of areas of the brain …” – Raj Persaud, Royal College of Psychiatrists[vi]

These child-like comments made by men who are influential in their field would be humorous if the treatment were not so potentially devastating. It is doubtful that any of those commenting would willingly undergo ECT to “rejig” their brain’s electrical wiring or “undo the hot-wiring.”

What ECT Really Does to the Brain

Linda Andre for the National Head Injury Foundation reported the actual effects of ECT in a detailed paper:

“Another common claim of shock doctors and publicists, that ECT “saves lives” or somehow prevents suicide, can be quickly disposed of. There is simply no evidence in the literature to support this claim. The one study on ECT and suicide (Avery and Winokur, 1976) shows that ECT has no effect on the suicide rate.

“Case studies, neuroanatomical testing, neuropsychological testing, and self-reports that remain strikingly similar over 50 years testify to the devastating effects of ECT on memory, identity, and cognition.

“Recent CAT scan studies showing a relationship between ECT and brain atrophy or abnormality include Calloway (1981); Weinberger et al (1979a and 1979b); and Dolan, Calloway et al (1986).

“The vast majority of ECT research has focused and continues to focus on the effects of ECT on memory, for good reason. Memory loss is a symptom of brain damage and, as neurologist John Friedberg (quoted in Bielski, 1990) points out, ECT causes more permanent memory loss than any severe closed-head injury with coma or almost any other insult to or disease of the brain.” [vii]

That psychiatry continues to promote this devastating “treatment” is reason enough to question  their sanity and block them from access to patients, young or old. The fact that they are now promoting ETC for treating children and the elderly has outraged many.

Victims of this abuse continue to speak out; when their voices reach a crescendo, perhaps this barbaric treatment will finally be outlawed.

[i] http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/psychology/psychology-and-psychiatry/electroconvulsive-therapy

[ii] https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/programs/neuromodulation/electroconvulsive-therapy

[iii] http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/therapies/electroconvulsivetherapy,ect.aspx

[iv] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/03/20/how-does-ect-work-in-the-brain/

[v] http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2014/10/29/electroconvulsive-therapy-what-it-is-how-it-works-and-who-it-helps

[vi] http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/therapies/electroconvulsivetherapy,ect.aspx

[vii] https://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

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Child Abuse
18 Sep
0

CCHR Calling for Investigation into Violations of Law Meant to Protect Children

Child AbuseThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog that exposes human rights violations and is dedicated to the protection of children, is calling for an investigation into apparent violations by psychiatric hospitals of a law passed by Florida lawmakers in 2017 that is meant to better protect children under the mental health law.

CCHR applauded Florida lawmakers earlier this year for taking action to protect children during involuntary psychiatric examination when the lawmakers amended the mental health law and as a result potentially reduced the length of stay for a child being held for involuntary examination. The amendment requires that the examination for a minor be initiated within 12 hours of the child’s arrival at a psychiatric hospital also known as a receiving facility.

The Baker Act currently allows for the initiation of involuntary psychiatric examination of children without parental knowledge and according to the Annual Report of Baker Act Data, 32,475 minors were sent for examination during fiscal year 2015/2016.[i]  The change to the law in 2017 could reduce a child’s stay by over 80% thereby greatly reducing the trauma of having been transported by law enforcement to a psychiatric ward.

However parents of children who have been Baker Acted since the change to the law are reporting to CCHR that the psychiatric facilities entrusted with the examination of children are refusing to follow the law.

“This law only went into effect about two months ago and we have already received reports from parents that 7 different facilities are refusing to follow the law,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida.  “These receiving facilities are violating the rights of these children.”

Based on these reports and acting as a strong voice working to protect children from unnecessary involuntary psychiatric examination, the Florida chapter of CCHR is calling for the appropriate state agencies to investigate the psychiatric facilities that have been reported to have violated the mental health law.

One of the reports received by CCHR tells of a hospital refusing to acknowledge the new amendment telling the parents that they were going to keep the child in question for 72 hours regardless but when the parents, on the advice of CCHR, hired an attorney, the child was released in 15 minutes after the attorney threatened to sue the hospital for insurance fraud.

CCHR’s campaign to protect children from unlawful Baker Acting was launched in 2016 and centers around educating families on their rights while simultaneously working with Florida lawmakers to create amendments that prevent abusive use of the mental health law.  Families interested in learning more are encouraged to contact CCHR at 727-442-8820 or to visit the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave in Clearwater, Florida.

[i] The Baker Act The Florida Mental Health Act Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Annual Report, Released March 2017 – Prepared for the Florida Department of Children and Families by the Baker Act Reporting Center

http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

 

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