A Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault Press Statement
NEW STUDY PROVES ELECTROSHOCK ("ECT") DAMAGES CONCLUSIVELY
CAPA CALLS FOR ACTION
A new and extensive study by psychiatrist and long-time shock promoter Harold Sackeim puts the lie to what psychiatrists have been claiming for decades about electroshock. The research, which was reported in Neuropsychopharmacology 2007, 32, 244-254, tracked 347 electroshock survivors for six months after treatment. This is the most extensive research ever conducted on electroshock and proves conclusively that electroshock therapy, or electroconvulsive therapy, otherwise known as ECT causes lasting memory and mental impairment. Psychiatrists have long denied such damage or claimed that problems such as memory impairment and other impairment are created by some types of electroshock but not others. The study proves statistically and conclusively, however, that memory and other cognitive impairment is caused by all forms of electroshock, including shock commonly described as new, safe, and improved. Moreover, that the impairment is lasting. It also proves statistically two other important claims long held by anti-shock activists:
1) that women are more damaged by electroshock than men.
2) that the elderly are more damaged that the younger.
"Advancing age, lower premorbid intellectual function, and female gender," concludes Sackeim, "were associated with greater cognitive deficits."
Given that shock is disproportionately given to women and to the elderly (See Burstow, Violence Against Women, 2006), these scientific findings are harrowing. It also makes the sabotage of accurate shock statistics on the part of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care even more alarming (See Cribb, The Toronto Star, September 28, p.A8).
On the basis of these new findings, CAPA (Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault) calls on government to cease and desist shocking its citizens, to find ways to protect its citizens, and in particular, to find a way of protecting the people who, tragically, are the primary targets of ECT as well as the ones most hurt by ECT--women and the elderly.
On the basis of these findings, additionally, we demand that henceforth, medical information given to shock recipients that omits, denies, or minimizes the reality of the lasting cognitive damage be treated as instances of fraud, violations of informed consent, and prosecuted accordingly. We likewise demand that accurate, timely, and gender and age specific electroshock statistics be made readily available to the public.
The public has a right to be protected from treatment proven to impair cognitive functions.
Medical professionals should not be able to get away with giving people blatantly inaccurate information about damaging treatments. The public has a right to know.
CAPA Contacts: Dr. Bonnie Burstow (416) 538-7103; Don Weitz (416) 545-0796. For copy of article, see CAPA website: capa.oise.utoronto.ca
The CAPA websites are: http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca