Psychiatrists Still Love Their Electroconvulsive Therapy

by | Nov 25, 2015

At the most recent annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association two leading practitioners and promoters of electroconvulsive therapy (the modern name for applying electric shocks to a person’s brain using 225 to 450 volts) held a session to educate general psychiatrists on the value of referring their patients for ECT treatments.
ECT Expert #1 Speaks Out
“The biggest problem with ECT is the stigma associated with its use,” said Mount Sinai School of Medicine ECT Services Director Charles Kellner, M.D.
He should know; he’s dedicated his career to the study of this “treatment” and is Editor Emeritus of the Journal of ECT. He has led the collaborative ECT research group CORE (Consortium for research in ECT) for the past decade in the performance of NIMH-sponsored multi-site research protocols.
Despite the fact that ECT was introduced as a psychiatric treatment in 1938 for depression and has thus been used for 77 years, Kellner wrote in January of 2015 “Some recent breakthroughs, using newly developed neuroscience investigational tools, suggest that if research resources are available, we could soon make substantial advances in understanding the mechanism of action of ECT.”
Psychiatrists don’t know how it works but have subjected millions of people to this torture.
Kellner states an estimated 1,000,000 people worldwide get ECT – 100,000 of them in the United States. ECT is done in 500 US hospitals and in outpatient treatment centers.
Kellner explained to the audience of psychiatrists that ECT should not be recommended only as a last resort for patients who have failed other forms of therapy. He explained that ECT can be recommended for patients with major depressive disorder, even before psychiatric drugs are tried.
“For patients with treatment-resistant depression—especially geriatric patients—ECT is a viable treatment option . . . one that should no longer be relegated to the option of last resort.”
According to Kellner, the older folks seem to do very well receiving these shocks especially since modern ECT is done under full anesthesia and with muscle relaxers injected. It all looks calm and peaceful while permanently damaging the patient’s body and memory.
The psychiatrists certainly thrive on giving ECT to the elderly as the number of ECT treatments rises sharply when a patient goes from age 64 to age 65 and Medicare begins to pay the bills for ECT.
A Happy Birthday present to Grandparents from the APA.
Here is a quote from a video made by Dr. Kellner:
“Many patients continue to fear the side effects of ECT particularly the memory loss. And the truth is for most patients the memory loss they get with modern ECT techniques is quite moderate and is something the patients are willing to tolerate for the benefit of getting completely well after a very serious episode of major depression. So typically patients have some decreased memory for the several weeks around the course of the ECT treatment but often times very little more than that. So the memory issue should not be a reason why the patient does not get referred for ECT in the modern era.”
There are 1,000s of testimonials from ECT victims describing the horrors of the treatment and their personal experience of memory loss.
For example:
“In an interview with a Ms. Schwartzkopff by MindFreedom, she said the last time she had her electroshock was 2010. All told she has had more than 60 of them, from the years 2003 to 2010. She reports experiencing devastating memory problems.”
“Any Dr. giving ECT “treatment” should have the treatments given to them before giving it to a patient. To those that are in favor of this ..treatment, try it for yourself if you feel it’s so safe. It’s basically an electric lobotomy. It affects both long AND short term memory. There is a so called psychiatrist in Minnesota who works with North Memorial Hospital that still uses this form of torture. Look him up. His name is Alex Uspenski and he has an office in New Hope, Mn. He’s ruined my life and I’m sure many other of his victims.”
“…$635,000 in a malpractice suit against a psychiatrist who referred a patient for electroshock treatment. The hospital had previously settled for a small amount and the doctor who administered the treatment was not found negligent. The plaintiff, Peggy Salters, is a former nurse who lost her memory for many years of her life, including her professional training and the raising of her children. Her cognitive abilities remain impaired for new learning as well. She was found permanently disabled by the shock treatment.”
Note that Dr. Kellner does not deny memory loss – he uses the expression “the memory loss”. It is a given.
And another quote from Dr. Kellner:
“There may be some confusion amongst patients and practitioners about the role of ECT compared to some of the newer brain stimulation techniques either devices or medications. I think it’s very important to understand that ECT remains the gold standard of brain stimulation techniques. There is no other brain stimulation technique that has the track record of efficacy and safety that ECT does and some of the newer techniques are not serious considerations for patients with serious depression who need to get better quickly and reliably.”
Seriously, is 225 volts the “The Gold Standard of brain stimulation techniques”?
He’s currently accepting patients to volunteer for his latest study at Mt. Sinai which is described as follows:
“Prolonging Remission in Depressed Elderly” 
”While advances have been made in the acute treatment of geriatric depression, failure to maintain remission following successful treatment remains a major public health problem. In particular, loss of antidepressant response can result in ongoing functional impairment and increased risk of suicide. This is especially salient for severe and/or treatment resistant illness, even after successful ECT.  The purpose of this study is to determine whether medication alone or medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) work best to prevent depressive relapse and to improve quality of life for older patients with severe mood disorders.”
ECT Expert #2 Speaks Out
Peter Rosenquist, M.D., is vice chair of psychiatry at Georgia Regents University, research and he claims that 50 to 60 percent of people with treatment-resistant depression respond to ECT. “People with psychotic depression are the highest responders, with a response rate of 95 percent,” Rosenquist told Psychiatric News, “followed by people with geriatric depression, at 90 percent.”
Patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may also benefit from using ECT.
Rosenquist is big on combining two psychiatric treatments each by themselves capable of damaging the patient beyond repair or causing his death.
He promotes using the anti-psychotic drug clozapine along with ECT!
Clozapine itself is a killer. According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry “Clozapine use in patients with severe mental illness was associated with a significantly increased risk of death compared with that for the general population… In a recent study, we found that death was a common cause of clozapine treatment cessation.”
ECT also causes death.
Dr. Daniel Fisher presenting to the U.S. FDA Neurological Devices Panel examining the reclassification of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) devices on January 27, 2011 stated that “I base my testimony on my practice as a board certified psychiatrist, my neurochemical research at National Institute of Mental Health, and my 19 years of directing a federally funded technical assistance center, the National Empowerment Center… The APA consent form drastically underestimates mortality associated with ECT by stating a risk of 1 in 10,000, whereas the average of numerous studies indicated a tenfold higher rate of death than suggested by the APA.”
He added many other studies on ECT death into his testimony including:
“In a 1980 survey of British psychiatrists involving ECT–related deaths that occurred during or within 72 hours of treatment, there were four reported deaths in 2,594 patients (Pippard & Ellam, 1981). That’s a rate of one per 648.5 people—15 times greater than the American Psychiatric Association claim. Of the additional six people who died within a few weeks of ECT, two were from heart attacks and one from stroke (common causes of death from ECT). With these three deaths included, the rate becomes one death per 371 ECT patients.”
Yet, Rosenquist feels the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in this use of ECT and needs to catch up.  He does admit to some problems according to the APA article. “One of the main risks associated with ECT is cognitive impairment, which symptoms tend to fall within three main categories:

  • Acute confusional state: No awareness of location and time. Symptoms may last up to three hours following ECT procedure.
  • Antrograde amnesia: Impaired ability to retain new information.
  • Retrograde amnesia: Impaired memory for events that occurred one to three months prior to ECT.

All cognitive ability is restored after 15 days, according to Rosenquist.”
As mentioned already, patient reports of memory loss indicate this 15 day period is untrue.
Interviewed in the APA meeting in Toronto, Rosenquist had this to say about using Clozapine along with ECT:
“You’re really probably not done treating a patient with schizophrenia if you’ve not tried clozapine and if you’ve not tried clozapine plus ECT because there’s some very good work recently done by Dr. Petrides and others showing that the combination is far superior to either of those treatments alone.”
When asked if there were any disadvantages or shortcomings associated with using ECT in practice, he replied:
“I’m not sure I would use the word shortcomings – it’s a very effective treatment for some population of individuals. It’s not for everyone. We certainly understand there are risks and benefits to every treatment and those ECT practitioners and those who refer for ECT need to understand the nature of their patient’s illness and whether they in fact are healthy enough to have ECT.”
Exactly how healthy does a person need to be to connect their brain to a device capable of 450 volts? No patients should ever qualify for this treatment.


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