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Free Content ESSAY Electroshock: A Crime Against the Spirit

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Abstract:

Since its introduction in 1938, electroshock (electroconvulsive treatment, ECT) has been to its proponents a blessing and to its critics a curse. The author, himself an insulin coma-electroshock survivor, sides with the critics arguing that ECT is inherently harmful and dehumanizing. To support his views, he cites findings and comments from the professional literature in four areas: brain damage, memory loss, death, and brainwashing. The author also presents seven reasons for the continuing use of ECT, including profitability, value as a reinforcer of the biological model of mental illness, the absence of informed consent, the procedure's function as a "treatment of next resort," government and media support, and the public's failure to hold psychiatrists accountable for their conduct. The author concludes the article with his poem "Aftermath."

"In remembrance lies the secret of redemption." Bal Shem Tov (1690-1760), founder of Hasidism. (Lieberman, 2001)

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: San Francisco, CA

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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