New York Times

Submitted for publication as either:
Letter to the Editor or Op-ed or Commentary

Re: Federal Report Praising Electroshock Stirs
Uproar by Erica Goode
NY Times -- October 6, 1999


Dear Editor,

I am an individual who has undergone a series of the so-called "new and improved, more humane, and safe and effective" shock treatments (Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT). These occurred when I was unable to say "NO" because they were done to me as I lay in a medically unconscious state. This was after being brought back from the brink of death from a very serious and intentional suicidal anti-depressant drug overdose at the time.  

This makes me one of many people who have undergone shock treatments (ECT) and among those who after experiencing it, know that, not only did it not benefit me, I have suffered harm as a result of receiving those treatments. As such, I can verify that when the U.S. Surgeon General's Office issues its report on mental health, that if it states that shock treatment is a "safe and effective" treatment, that it will not at all be true and it would not be factually based. Along with many other things offered as accepted fact, which somehow we are suppose to take or believe as "scientifically proven;" such a statement from the Surgeon General's Office would be nothing more than recycled hype and propaganda offered by the shock industry, shock proponents and others who take such information as being factually based.

As an anti-shock activist, I believe in and advocate for a complete ban on the use of shock (ECT). It has always been a struggle for me, because I do firmly believe in people being able to make their own true choices -- without  any coercion, outside interference or control. However, In my opinion, shock treatment is, always has been and will always be, a crime against humanity done to people under the guise of so-called medical treatment and thus shielded, protected and legitimized by the medical profession and certain governmental and non-governmental entities.

Further, I believe, that shock (ECT) is never, or will it ever will be, "a matter of choice and preference" as one "independent" consultant was quoted as saying very recently [Federal Report Praising Electroshock Stirs Uproar;NY Times;10/6/99]. That is because, at least in the USA (except for in Texas - if the law is followed exactly in every case), there is not any true informed consent since all the facts about shock (ECT) are never fully and clearly stated without a bias toward shock treatment (ECT). Pro-Shock advocates and others seem to worry about anti-shock treatment bias, but not at all about pro-shock treatment bias and conflicts of interest. In addition, in many cases, people are forced and coerced. In some cases guardians are appointed so that they may grant consent for treatment of others. So, to say that it is "a matter of choice and preference" is at best misinformation. I have heard this kind of statement over and over by people who say they believe in "choice." If that were true, then they would fight very hard for their state or province to enact and then enforce just what Texas provides people considering shock treatment, wouldn't they?! An example of an Authentic Informed Consent for Electroshock is offered at: http://www.wildestcolts.com/mentalhealth/shock.html FYI: It is also available in booklet form for $3.00 each. Mail your request to: John Breeding; 2503 Douglas St.;Austin, TX 78741; telephone 512-326-8326.  

This is the type of information that the proponents of shock treatment (ECT) attempt to dismiss and don't want people to either have or know about. Will the Surgeon General be among those? I guess we will see, won't we!

Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

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