WiIl Hall – Comments to FDA On “Electro-Convulsive Therapy” Reclassificaton Hearings

First Aired: 01-30-2011 -- Add comment

The FDA hearings turned out very positively for the anti-electroshock movement, you can read more here:

This is the public comment I submitted to the FDA panel:

I am a therapist, advocate, and have recovered from a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Please listen to the voices of people harmed by ECT and limit its use, and put ECT devices in a more restricted category as a step towards ECT’s elimination.

My father lost memory, lost parts of his personality, and was deeply traumatized by his ECT treatments. His suffering caused great damage to our family. As a therapist I have met many clients also harmed, and as an advocate and public speaker I have met many more. There is a worldwide movement against ECT which deserves to be heard – in what other area of medicine does a treatment generate such strong opposition from people who have received it? Ignoring this outcry is a shameful throwback to the era of lobotomy and insulin coma therapy, when patient’s experience was routinely disregarded.

ECT was recommend to me when “all other treatments had failed,” yet the hospital had not even begun to try any alternative treatments, they had only tried a series of medications. There is an abundance of effective and safe alternatives to ECT that deserve support. ECT device manufacturers have a long history of improper influence on the science and regulation surrounding ECT, and industry manipulation deeply corrupts research claims of ECT effectiveness (as discussed in Linda Andre’s excellent book Doctors of Deception).

Short term benefits are attributable to the paradoxical effects of head injury, placebo, and expectations by providers. There is no research evidence of any kind that ECT treats or corrects any disease process. Do not be part of the same historic blunder that medicine made when lobotomy was widely supported and even earned its inventor the Nobel Prize. Do not go along with biased and inaccurate research and industry advocates. Do not ignore the overwhelming evidence that ECT is harmful. Move to limit the use of ECT, classify the devices in a more restricted way, and work towards elimination of ECT.

— Will Hall

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