Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

Shock survivor-activist Linda Andre’s book Doctors of Deception

Shock survivor-activist-author Linda Andre plans to come to Toronto next year- I definitely will read her book Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment I hope many others also read her book

Begin forwarded message:

From: Rob Wipond
Date: October 7, 2008 2:02:47 PM EDT (CA)
To: “”
Subject: [can-survive] ECT Book: doctors of deception

This one’s looking like it’ll be good…

Doctors of Deception

Price: $26.95

Subtitle: What They Don’t Want You to Know about Shock Treatment
Author: Linda Andre
Subject: Health and Medicine
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-4441-0
Pages: 336 pages
Publication Date: February 2009

Praise for Doctors of Deception

“This book is absolutely fascinating and extraordinarily well-written. It is a major contribution to the current literature.”
—Michael Perlin, professor of law, New York Law School

“Linda Andre’s book is both a powerful memoir of her own experience as an ECT “patient” and a documented account of the underbelly of the ‘shock industry.’ It raises profound questions about ECT that both psychiatry and the National Institute of Mental Health—if they want to be honest with the American public—desperately need to address.”
—Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

“For many years, activist and writer Linda Andre has been forcefully and cogently examining the reigning (and mostly unchallenged) professed claims and practices of our medical establishment’s wizards of shock therapy. In this thoroughly-researched, pathbreaking, and essential book, the author undraws the curtains that have for too long cloaked these claims, practices, and wizards. It is a work of courage, heart, and brains”-Jonathan Cott, author of On the Sea of Memory


Mechanisms and standards exist to safeguard the health and welfare of the patient, but for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)—used to treat depression and other mental illnesses—such approval methods have failed. Prescribed to thousands over the years, public relations as opposed to medical trials have paved the way for this popular yet dangerous and controversial treatment option.

Doctors of Deception is a revealing history of ECT (or shock therapy) in the United States, told here for the first time. Through the examination of court records, medical data, FDA reports, industry claims, her own experience as a patient of shock therapy, and the stories of others, Andre exposes tactics used by the industry to promote ECT as a responsible treatment when all the scientific evidence suggested otherwise.

As early as the 1940s, scientific literature began reporting incidences of human and animal brain damage resulting from ECT. Despite practitioner modifications, deleterious effects on memory and cognition persisted. Rather than discontinue use of ECT, the $5-billion-per-year shock industry crafted a public relations campaign to improve ECT’s image. During the 1970s and 1980s, psychiatry’s PR efforts misled the government, the public, and the media into believing that ECT had made a comeback and was safe.

Andre carefully intertwines stories of ECT survivors and activists with legal, ethical, and scientific arguments to address issues of patient rights and psychiatric treatment. Echoing current debates about the use of psychopharmaceutical interventions shown to have debilitating side-effects, she candidly presents ECT as a problematic therapy demanding greater scrutiny, tighter control, and full disclosure about its long-term cognitive effects.

About the Author:
Linda Andre is a writer, activist, and the director of the Committee for Truth in Psychiatry. Since receiving ECT in the early 1980s, she has been an advocate for the human and civil rights of psychiatrically labelled people, particularly the right to truthful informed consent. She has been interviewed by numerous publications and media such as 20/20, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Culturally-critical commentary, journalism and satire
Canadian Mindscape Monitor Daily monitoring and critical analysis of current events, media coverage and scientific research surrounding “mental health” issues in Canada and globally.
Rob Wipond’s Satires on YouTube


Elecroshock Ineffective & Damaging – Release from Ireland


Scientific evidence shows that ECT is ineffective and damages patients

Dublin, 2 October 2008 — The Wellbeing Foundation today published on its website a series of scientific papers which clearly demonstrate both the ineffectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and that it causes both short and long term cognitive and intellectual damage to those who are given it.

Last June two Green Party senators, Deirdre de Burca and Dan Boyle, together with independent senator David Norris, introduced a Bill to ban the use of involuntary electroshock ‘therapy’. A debate began. Since then, the usual crew of institutional psychiatrists in Ireland have defended the use of ECT and have again pronounced it to be both safe, with no long term effects, and effective. They are either ignorant or lying, as the evidence abounds that ECT causes severe damage to patients, up to and including death (from shock-induced heart attack) and is ineffective in the longer term.

As a public service and to contribute some facts and evidence to the debate, the Wellbeing Foundation decided to re-publish this selection of peer-reviewed scientific papers from prestigious medical journals. The papers can be downloaded in pdf form direct from our website,

ECT is no therapy at all. That is the clear conclusion from research carried out by leading figures in the field.

Anti-ECT campaigners, whether lay people or qualified doctors, have been vilified by certain supporters of ECT in the psychiatric profession and accused of producing no evidence to support their claims that ECT is both damaging and ineffective. Here, then, is that evidence, and it is safe to say that this evidence comes from professionals far more eminent in their field than any of our critics here in Ireland.

Most of this evidence has been available to professionals and the curious public for over a year. For example, the first scientific paper we reproduce, ‘The Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Community Settings’, was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology in 2007. One dates from 1998, the others from 2005, 2006 and again 2007. One might be tempted to think, from the subsequent contributions by certain Irish psychiatrists, that the latter are ignorant of this important research or have not read and evaluated it.

One of the notable things about the the first paper mentioned is that its lead author, Harold J Sackheim, is a prominent advocate of the medical model and of the school of biological psychiatry, a school whose very basis we question. Dr Sackheim has for many years been a leading advocate of ECT. Yet in this paper he comes as close as one could expect to a public recantation of his previous views. Dr Sackheim, to his credit, has led a team which collected evidence, solid, empirical evidence, of the cognitive impairments (read, memory loss and intellectual impairment) caused by ECT even in its ‘least worst’ form. And Dr Sackheim has taken account of that evidence — he now rejects, at the very least, the widespread use of ECT, and more particularly the use of most forms of ECT (certainly those widely used here in Ireland).

This gamekeeper has turned poacher. Would that his Irish colleagues take note, and even follow suit.

The other papers are as valuable, and all give evidence supporting and bolstering our view that ECT is medically dangerous and should be banned. The earliest is Dr Peter Breggin’s famous study from 1998, ‘Electroshock: scientific, ethical, and political issues’, published in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine .

‘Patients’ perspectives on electroconvulsive therapy: a systematic review’ was published in the British Medical Journal in January 2005; ‘Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients’ in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment’ in 2006; ‘Cognitive rehabilitation: assessment and treatment of persistent memory impairments following ECT’ in the same journal in 2007; and we include, for its inherent interest and for providing some profound insights by those on the sharp end, ‘The Electroshock Quotationary’ by Leonard Roy Frank, published in June 2006.

Most institutional psychiatrists in Ireland have been too fond of claiming that their profession is united in advocating ECT and in rejecting accusations that it damages mental and intellectual functioning in several serious ways. This is simply not true: their profession, at least elsewhere, is seriously divided on this issue and cannot agree either on the efficacy of ECT or its serious effects. The evidence is clear.

In such circumstances, the politicians who will shortly return to the debate on the three senators’ Bill to ban involuntary electroshock must take the approach of considering primarily the political, ethical and human rights aspects of the current ECT regime in our mental health system and avoid the medical debate.

Even if they were to conduct hearings into the medical arguments, with evidence from all camps (including patient groups and ‘consumer’ advocates), it would most likely be fruitless — a rabbit hole of metaphysical claim and counter-claim from which they might not ever return.

The issue should be decided on one criterion — do current rules on the administration of ECT conform even to the minimum standards required to uphold the human rights of the patient? The answer to this is clearly NO — and on that basis, and that basis alone, the senators’ Bill should be passed into law.


For more information or to arrange interviews with a Wellbeing representative, contact Basil Miller (086 8182082).

The scientific papers can be downloaded direct from the home page of our website.

Basil Miller
Head of communications

the wellbeing foundation
2 Eden Park
Dun Laoghaire

tel +353 1 2800084