by Brian Daniels
What is ECT?
Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT, also known as “shock” treatment or electroshock. is a procedure used by psychiatrists which passes an electrical current through a person’s brain until a seizure occurs. These days, the patient is given a general anaesthetic and muscle relaxant so they don’t break teeth or bones during the violent seizure.
It’s a “therapy” that supposedly resets the brain.
Psychiatrists however admit they don’t know how it works.” Kenneth Castleman, PhD, Biomedical Engineer, describes what it actually does to the brain.
“Electric current is a flow of electrons through an object, such as a patient’s head. It is measured in “amperes,” which specifies the number of electrons that are moving through the object each second. But the object presents a resistance to the flow of electrons, and the pressure that is forcing the electrons through the object is the voltage, measured in “volts.” So, for any particular object, the higher the voltage (more volts) the more current will flow (more amps). The voltage pulls on the electrons, and, when they move, we have a current flow.
“An ECT machine applies a voltage to electrodes placed on the patient’s head. Modern ECT machines apply that voltage not continuously, but in brief pulses. First one electrode goes positive and the other one negative, causing the electrons to be pulled in one direction. Then, after a brief pause, the polarity is reversed, pulling the electrons in the opposite direction. This creates a jackhammer effect on the brain cells, and there is the risk of tearing holes in the cells. This same technique is used to kill cancer cells. In addition to that, the electric current causes heating in the brain, and that can damage or even kill cells.
“A typical ECT treatment involves 70 pairs of pulses per second (the pulse frequency), and it lasts from five to eight seconds (the duration). Modern ECT machines automatically adjust the voltage, using up to 460 volts, to get a specified amount of current to flow. The current can be set between 0.5 and 0.9 amps.”
How Does ECT reset the brain?
The theory (and this is just theory) is that it reboots the brain just like when you reboot a computer that isn’t working properly.
This analogy is given by Paula Bolton, the program director of McLean’s Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She also says “no one is really quite sure why it works.”
If you take into account the information above about how the electric current causes heating in the brain and damaging brain cells, it’s a lot more than a “reset”. Kenneth Castleman also said “To say that your brain needs a 460-volt electric shock is like saying your computer needs a lightning strike.”
Can ECT make you worse?
At CCHR UK, we have received reports from survivors of ECT sharing their stories which include permanent memory loss following ECT, mood changes and more. There are other stories online of people suffering memory loss.
According to one lady, whose story you can read here, she said ECT messed her brain and she was never the same after it.
Another lady said her life has been seriously affected by ECT, not only on her memory but also on her heart.
According to a report  from an analysis of 304 electroshock treatments, it discovered that some potentially dangerous arrhythmias occurred. An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm.
Who is a good candidate for ECT?
Short answer? No-one.
Considering that the co-owner of Somatics LLC (a major US manufacturer of ECT machines) psychiatrist Richard Abrams was asked under deposition if he even understood the mechanics of how ECT works and responded, “I do not”, then it might be wise to exercise extreme caution when being offered ECT.
Mecta Corp, another U.S. ECT device manufacturer, could provide no evidence of how ECT works other than the machines it makes are designed to cause a grand mal seizure and, beyond that, the mechanism is entirely theoretical. Under deposition, Robin Nicol, the Chief Excutive Officer of Mecta, admitted the company “does not do research” and made a decision to “disregard what it characterized as the minority view of ECT” that ECT “causes brain damage and causes memory loss.”
Lastly, according to the instruction manual of the Thymatron – the ECT device manufactured by Somatics LLC, it lists cognition and memory impairment and brain injury under “Serious Adverse Events”.
You can read more stories about the harm done by ECT here:
UKR Columnist Brian Daniels is also the Executive Director of CCHR, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in the UK. CCHR is a global watchdog founded in 1969 to investigate and expose psychiatric human rights violations.
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