Do psychiatrists use ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) on children?

 

In the 1950s, psychiatrist Lauretta Bender pioneered this unbelievable practice.

 

According to a google groups article “In a 1954 follow-up study, two psychiatrists investigated 32 children Bender had electroshocked. ‘In a number of cases, parents have told the writers that their children were definitely worse after EST [electro shock therapy]. In fact, many of these children were regarded as so dangerous to themselves or others that hospitalization [became] imperative. Also, after a course of such treatment one nine-year-old boy made what was interpreted as an attempt at suicide.’ Soon afterwards, when being admitted to a state hospital, ‘he said that he had tried to hang himself because he was ‘afraid of dying [referring to ECT] and wanted to get it over with fast’” 1

 

Many victims of electroshock therapy describe it as “torture.” How psychiatrists can use this horrific device on children as young as four is hard to fathom.

 

According to whistleblower psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin, “the ‘treatment’ is devastating to the mental functions, frequently causing dementia with permanent disruption of memory and a variety of other cognitive functions.” 2

 

He also states that “Patients given ECT are administered an electric current of sufficient intensity and duration to produce an acute organic brain syndrome, characterized by the classic symptoms of disorientation to time, place, and person; mental deterioration in all intellectual spheres such as abstract reasoning, judgment, and insight; emotional liability with extremes of apathy or euphoria; and overall childlike helplessness.”

 

Civil rights activist and ECT survivor Ted Chasbasinski describes the shock treatment he received as a 6 year old child:

“It took three attendants to hold me. At first Doctor Bender herself threw the switch, but later when I was no longer an interesting case, my tormentor was different each time.

“I wanted to die but I didn’t really know what death was. I knew that it was something terrible. Maybe I’ll be so tired after the next shock treatment I won’t get up, I won’t ever get up, and I’ll be dead. But I always got up. Something in me beyond my wishes made me put myself together again.

“I memorized my name, I taught myself to say my name. Teddy, Teddy, I’m Teddy…I’m here, I’m here, in this room, in the hospital. And my mommy’s gone…I would cry and realize how dizzy I was. The world was spinning around and coming back to it hurt too much. I want to go down, I want to go where the shock treatment is sending me, I want to stop fighting and die…and something made me live, and to go on living I had to remember never to let anyone near me again.” 3

For parents desperate enough to try ECT to help their children, please know that there are alternatives to this barbaric practice.

Studies using fish oil to help childhood depression have been encouraging.

A study conducted in Israel reports “After the first 4 weeks of supplementation the researchers noted that the children on fish oil had significantly improved their rating on the Childhood Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) with 7 out of 10 showing an improvement of greater than 50%. None of the children in the placebo group experienced a 50% or better improvement. Four of the 10 children in the fish oil group were classified as being no longer depressed whereas none of the children in the placebo group achieved this goal. The researchers conclude that fish oils may have therapeutic benefits in childhood depression.” 4

References:
 
1. http://groups.google.com/group/misc.activism.progressive/browse_thread/thread/3a156eb7855b5675/355dd084b9dd6a3d

2. http://breggin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40

3. http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/ted-chabasinski/

4. http://www.oilofpisces.com/depression.html