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ECT - history and other things


Namaste

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  • 1 month later...

Just a few brief notes--and mind, I haven't read your material, Namaste, so please pardon any duplication.

ECT was invented by Italian doctor Ugo Cerletti after observing a slaughterhouse at which pigs were "stunned" with electricity before having their throats cut.  Similar techniques remain in use.

Cerletti believed he could "stun" his more violent patients with electricity and calm them--this in the era before virtually all psych medications.

His first experimental patient received the shock and screamed: "stop it!  You're killing me!"  Cerletti responded by turning the voltage up and administering another shock.

During the 1950s, shock treatments were administered for all manner of conditions, notably getting on the nerves of hospital staff.  They were administered without anesthetic, and patients were often known to break bones during the resulting seizures.  Injections of metrazol and the deliberate induction of insulin comas were also used to trigger "therapeutic seizures".  After some years, these were discontinued due to an unfortunate side effect of killing a fair number of patients.

At some point, someone got the bright idea to anesthetize the ECT patient and paralyze them with succinyl choline so that, while their brain underwent a full-blown seizure, their body did not convulse and looked quite peaceful.  Rarely noted in texts is that, since it is more difficult to induce a seizure in an anesthetize brain, both voltage and amperage were increased, greatly increasing the risk of brain damage.

These days, shocks are given via electrodes plugged into a machine with lots of switches and meters to make it look properly clinical and convince all that there is something scientific to the process.  But what comes out of the electrodes is merely pulsed household current, at a voltage and amperage which, if found to be present on a construction site by OSHA inspectors, would result in forced closure of the site until the hazard had been corrected.

Could add much more, but some of it will be found scattered around the site.  I should make it clear that I am not a Scientologist or anything of the sort and that all of my remarks are born of personal observation and study.  I have never had ECT and never will.

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