Mechanisms and standards exist to safeguard the health and welfare of the patient, but for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)used to treat depression and other mental illnessessuch approval methods have failed. Prescribed to thousands over the years, public relations as opposed to medical trials have paved the way for this popular yet dangerous and controversial treatment option. Doctors of Deception is a revealing history of ECT (or shock therapy) in the United States, told here for the first time. Through the examination of court records, medical data, FDA reports, industry claims, her own experience as a patient of shock therapy, and the stories of others, Andre exposes tactics used by the industry to promote ECT as a responsible treatment when all the scientific evidence suggested otherwise. As early as the 1940s, scientific literature began reporting incidences of human and animal brain damage resulting from ECT. Despite practitioner modifications, deleterious effects on memory and cognition persisted. Rather than discontinue use of ECT, the $5-billion-per-year shock industry crafted a public relations campaign to improve ECTs image. During the 1970s and 1980s, psychiatrys PR efforts misled the government, the public, and the media into believing that ECT had made a comeback and was safe. Andre carefully intertwines stories of ECT survivors and activists with legal, ethical, and scientific arguments to address issues of patient rights and psychiatric treatment. Echoing current debates about the use of psychopharmaceutical interventions shown to have debilitating side-effects, she candidly presents ECT as a problematic therapy demanding greater scrutiny, tighter control, and full disclosure about its long-term cognitive effects.
They still do shock treatment?
By John Friedberg - February 25, 2009
If you've ever wondered how generations of medical authority could have been so wrong about practices such as bleeding, consider shock treatment or ECT.
The author describes in fascinating detail the "30 year comeback" of electroshock.
I am honored to be mentioned as having attempted to expose the brain damage and amnesia at the beginning of the "PR era." I am a neurologist appalled by the practice of inducing convulsions. Convulsions are a catastrophe doctors should be dedicated to preventing.
Three decades later there is incontrovertible evidence that shock treatments always cause memory loss, sometimes cause seizures and not infrequently cause death.
The story of how psychiatry has defended the indefensible is told with awesome scholarship and remarkable wit by one of it's most indomitable critics.
This book is the truth about ECT. You won't find it anywhere else.
John Friedberg, MD Board Certified Neurologist
First do no harm. No. Strike that. First do a survey
By Richard Warner - March 24, 2009
Earlier this year, Marcia Angell, writing in The New York Review of Books, lamented, "It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine." Angell's review laid out the many ways in which the medical field, particularly psychiatry, has allowed itself to be thoroughly corrupted by its extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
In her compelling new book, Doctors of Deception, Linda Andre demonstrates that this corruption extends to the big business of shock treatment (also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)). For decades a small group of psychiatrists, many with financial interests in shock machine manufacturers, has controlled the principal source of funds for ECT research, the National... read more
A Comprehensive Indictment of a 70-yr old Treatment Fraud
By Ron Thompson - March 26, 2009
by Ron Thompson Linda Andre has spent over 20 years trying to alert the public to the inevitable harm done by the psychiatric treatment known as 'electroconvulsive treatment', or more simply, as ... shock. Now she's written DOCTORS OF DECEPTION: What They Don't Want You to Know About Shock Treatment (2009), published by Rutgers University Press. Unlike other books written by former patients of psychiatry who feel their treatment was much worse than any problems they had prior to their encounter with psychiatry, Linda's book is relatively short on her personal story and long on scholarship about the history of shock since it's appearance in 1938. This makes her book at once excellent investigative reporting and serious history, as well as a compelling personal story. One of many things that suggest the importance of this book is the startling statement that the dangers of shock treatment were far better recognized in the 1940's than they are now... read more