Saturday, June 23, 2007

What is electroshock?

Above is picture of a woman having electroshock also known as ECT, shock and electroconvulsive therapy.

Above is a picture of Italian psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti shocking pigs in a Roman slaughterhouse

The picture above is of psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti who developed ECT, also known as electroshock, shock, and electroconvulsive therapy.

Electroshock, also known ECT, shock and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a psychiatric procedure in which seizures are induced with electricity. It became widespread as a form of treatment in the 1940s and 50s.

In a Rome slaughterhouse, psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti witnessed butchers incapacitate pigs with electricity. Cerletti lost no time in developing this for use on humans to control behavior. Electroshock—also known as electro-convulsive therapy, shock treatment and ECT— was thus pioneered by Cerletti in the mid-1930s.

Cerletti was fascinated by the control potentials of electroshock. The first man who received it pleaded with Cerletti, “Not another one! It’s deadly!” A witness recounts that, “The Professor (Cerletti) suggested that another treatment with a higher voltage be given.

German psychiatrist Lothar B. Kalinowsky, who witnessed this first electroshock while a student of Cerletti, became one of the world’s most ardent and vigorous proponents of this “treatment.” He developed his own ECT machine and in 1938 introduced his electroshock procedure to France, Holland and England, later pioneering it in the United States. By 1940, ECT had arrived in many countries around the world.

Today, the administration of electroshock brings an estimated $3 billion annually into psychiatric industry coffers in the U.S. alone. However, those receiving this “treatment” are the ones who pay the costliest price. Documented studies show ECT leaves irreversible brain damage. Shock treatment causes confusion of time and space orientation, permanent loss of memory and can result in death. Yet psychiatrists continue to use it. Nobody has ever been “cured”—only deprived of their memory, feelings and will.

Yearly Stats on number of people who get ECT:

14,000 ECTs are given in Ontario, Canada yearly

100,000 Americans get ECT yearly

50,000 people in the UK get ECT yearly

Worldwide it is estimated that 1 to 2 million people get ECT yearly
Electroshock by Dr. Peter R. Breggin (

Electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy involves the passage of an electrical current through the brain of the patient to produce a grand mal or major epileptic seizure. Sometimes the two electrodes are placed over both temples (bilateral shock) and sometimes over one side of the head (unilateral)

The shock induces an electrical storm that obliterates the normal electrical patterns in the brain, driving the recording needle on the EEG up and down in a violent, jagged swings. This period of extreme bursts of electrical energy often is followed by a briefer period of absolutely no electrical activity, called the isoelectric phase. The brain waves become temporarily flat, excactly as in brain death, and it may be that cell death takes place at this time.

The above URL is Dr. Peter R. Breggin's pdf file about electroshock . In this pdf file he explains in depth what electroshock is all about and the harm ECT does to people and he discusses all the studies and tests that have been done on electroshock. I think this is one of the best files to read about electroshock. Dr. Breggin has done all his homework on electroshock and knows what he is talking about. This is an excellent article.