If damages around electroshock/ECT are so bad, why are more victims not speaking out?
Despite the stigma of having a mental health diagnosis, there are many reasons for this. While I cannot speak for all my peers, I have had enough conversations to speak for quite a few.
All have traumatic brain injuries to one degree or another which involves apathy, and neuro/cognitive damages. And in many instances there is a failure to even recognize damages secondary to the TBI outcome of anosognisia.
They have received little recognition and validation from providers, family and friends (who have been told their symptoms are psychiatric in nature). They have been actually blamed to a degree in outcomes “of not trying hard enough.” They come from a stigmatized background of psychiatric labeling, and are up against the societal structure of the most powerful. They have been gas lighted and minimized by those that should care the most. When they ask for help it is often not provided. Many simply give up. Suicide is not uncommon.
With post electrical injury there are outcomes of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It is difficult to risk speaking out. This greatly frustrates many because they so want to tell their truth and have it heard.
They are in jobs or in school, and their public revelations may make them fearful to come forward as this could impact their standings or how people may view them. Some may feel it is okay to have a mental health diagnosis. But many may not want it known that “it got bad enough to require ECT.”
People have said they are so isolated in these outcomes that they cannot even share with family and friends the true devastation this has created. Often, family members encouraged ECT after speaking with the treating providers. The victim may not want them to feel guilt for damages done, so they stay quiet. These are the concerns of many of my peers, their hearts!
Many come from trauma backgrounds where there was repeated gas lighting and minimizing of their distress. It may just seem safer to not address and risk hostile responses on social media.
Many are still in relationship with providers that either performed the procedure or recommended the procedure. This is a double bind for the patient to know that this trusted provider was fully aware of the damages anticipated and did nothing to protect and warn. This greatly impacts their ability to trust anyone moving forward. Some of these providers are prescribing addictive drugs that another provider may not fill. Victims will not risk exposing them for this reason.
Many cannot come to terms, and do not even want to acknowledge to themselves, what has happened. It is just easier to not address. They give up hope.
If you have had ECT and can find it in yourself to comment or speak out when you see posts about electroshock it would help so much. Make use of your suffering and give it purpose in speaking out. In these times of biological psychiatry, you may find your family members and friends are at risk unless you speak out.
Your physician inflicted or recommended a procedure with known harmful outcomes. He or she took it upon themselves to use a device and perform a procedure that has had no FDA testing for safety or effectiveness. They did not bother to even let you know the device and procedure were classified as experimental.
They, in negligence of their lack of duty to warn, protect, and not cause harm, have impacted the rest of your life in outcomes you struggle with daily. Do not keep their secrets. You have a great deal to share to protect others. Please speak out. Lawyers can fight for justice for ECT victims. Legislators can act to protect others from becoming future victims. But, unless you speak out, how will they know? How can they act?
Mary Lou Gazi says
thank you, for your work and care. my son john is under to receive ect. I am petition the court to consider not giving it. is very brain damaging and he is in no condition to receive this.
Monica N Janello says
In 2008, after attempting suicide (my first attempt ever) my Dr railroaded me into getting ECT’s. At that time I was improperly diagnosed at just being depressed. I was later diagnosed as bipolar 1 with a few other issues. Since my ECT’s I still remember little of 2008, my short term memory is as bad as that of someone twice my age (plus a few long term memory proplems, and I now suffer from migraines which I never really had problems with before.
I have been searching for a site like this. All they want you to know is the “good” ECT does to help someone who is clinically depressed or had signs of some catatonia, how it will make your life so much better. You can almost be convinced it is the right thing to do for you loved one. Thank you for sharing.
Rebecca Ryan says
I was sent to have electro convulsive treatments after my first visit to a pain clinic. I was there due to a car accident. A different doctor (a student) had put me on lithium 7 years prior and the pain clinic doctor put me in the hospital to: take me off of the lithium (because I was/am not bipolar), take me off of oxycodone and to perform six electro convulsive treatments. I was/am not deeply depressed just not happy about being in so much pain. Interestingly enough my father and grandmother had both also undergone these treatments decades earlier.
The whole process is barbaric, the rational behind it insane. It is lazy thinking to pull these treatments out of a hat and deem them successful on any level. What is truly necessary is to train psychiatrists and psychologists to actually talk to patients and treat them like the human beings that they are.
I remember my mother saying the treatments “brought” my father back after a nervous breakdown. Having experienced the treatments first hand I know for a fact that this is not true. What happened to bring him back was something someone said that “clicked.” A trigger that made him want to go on.
Roughly speaking, medicine is anything but modern and there are no easy or fast fixes. Just because not all of us “present well,” does not mean that we need to be tortured to normalize us. There is no normal.
Rochelle Herrera says
I had 14 sessions of ect in December 2018-January 2019. My memory is horrible. I can’t remember where I put things. I cannot concentrate. When I try to read a book, by the next chapter, I forget what the previous chapter was about. I had a ct scan and it came out “normal”. I am waiting for the results of my mri that I had a few days ago. I see a neurologist on wednesday. I space out and almost got into two car accidents in one week. This procedure has changed every aspect of my life. I have not worked in over a year. The skills and knowledge listed on my resume as a Paralegal could not be performed by me today. I am hoping to have a neuropychologisty examine. I need to get to the bottom of this. I am not the same person as I was before. I will look into a FMRI. I will probably have to fight with my insurance but I have to be my own advocate.
Trinity L Hanson says
I know that it was unethical, and I know it changed me. They allowed me to seize for over 4 minutes. I have lost many memories, and have lasting effects. I was a Guinea pig.
Sherri THRASHER says
I would be willing to share
Francina villasenor says
I am permanently disabled and under conservator ship . I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder in 2005 . I received ECT in 2012 , and I am just becoming aware of how damaged my brain is. I had a successful career as a registered nurse for twenty years until bipolar disorder struck me at a late age due to peri-menopause
deborah L schwartzkopff says
I am very sorry for your outcomes that are not unlike so many others. I hope that you will write letters to Editors of papers in your state esp. the smaller ones who are printing them now to alert the public. They will call you before printing them. It is the way we can also get more lawyers. Thank you for being a nurse who is willing to address from your own experience. If you have peers who may be receptive that would help as well. I wish you well.
Visit http://www.cchr.org for more truth about ECT and resources to bring those doing this torture to justice
I am going through a similar experience, so sorry, I too feel like a Guinea pig
Dlorah Adam says
I had 4 extra treatments and could no longer take the treatments. They were too traumatic to me and weren’t helping me Now I worry about permanent brain damage.
Darlene Neil says
My daughter has had many many ect sessions. I begged her not to do it!
8 weeks ago, she had brain surgery because she aquired hydrocepelis. She 43 years old and my girl is a shell.
I am here on this site for the first time, I didnt even know there was ect to help people. It is for the best they say, or will restart your brain block out bad memories they said. My sister told me all the great things that the doctor wanted her to know and how it would help her get better. It didnt help at all tonight my sister is in the hospital and our family is standing around waiting and hoping she wakes up. Last night my sister overdoes she said these treatments made her feel crazy and she wants to die. I am here to find out more how to ban this treatment.
Sarah Price Hancock says
I’m so sorry to hear about your dear sister. I hope she pulled through. I recommend searching out a “functional neurologist.” They can begin properly assessing her for acquired repetitive brain injury and electrical injury. (Symptoms of electrical injury are usually delayed 2.5-10 years). If you need help finding a functional neurologist, the Carrick Institute has a provider locator on their website.
Her injuries are likely not structural to the degree that they cannot be seen on a CT or MRI, but a Functional MRI (fMRI) will measure brain activity and a SPECT scan will measure blood flow within the brain. QEEG will also measure brain activity.
All my best to you, your dear sister and family. The road ahead is a hard one, but there is help available. Good luck!
Sarah Price Hancock, MS, CRC
So sorry I’m living this same nightmare now, so sad and sorry
Yes they do lie about what ECT is. Its cruel and the same as it was in the 50s simply twice mains voltage out through someones brain. And it should be illegal and anyone who does it should be put on trial. It needs to be banned. I wish your daughter healing from the highest place. And you determination to help protect her and others.