Posts tagged ‘Shock treatment’
I can’t stress enough the importance of taking an active role in this instance. The FDA has been in a position to regulate ECT (shock treatment) for decades by way of clinical trials determining its safety and efficacy and has chosen not to. Proponents proclaim its safety and efficacy but oppose its testing. Why? If ECT is as safe and effective as those proponents claim, the device would fly through the testing without a hitch. If not, however, the FDA is our only safeguard from a procedure that many of its recipients have found ineffective at best and debilitating at worst.
Proponents of ECT claim it is fear mongering based on old and outdated methods that opponents use to bolster their argument but little has changed in ECT over the years, other than adding drugs into the mix. The same damaging and unpredictable shock is administered to the brain, intentionally causing a seizure. Ask anyone who has seizures and chances are they will not praise them for their safety and depression reducing qualities. Muscle relaxants are used to minimize muscle contractions and anesthesia is offered, making the procedure more appealing and easier to market but certainly not safer given the increased potential for toxic or allergic effects and harmful drug interactions.
Proponents of ECT claim it is an often life saving last resort that has proven its safety and efficacy through publice use. I’ll simply say two things to that. First,that the same was said about lobotomy and second, that using the public over time to determine the benefits of a procedure is using the public as guinea pigs in a poorly regulated experiment.
When ECT proponents weigh in on the topic, they often frame it in terms of taking ECT out of their arsenal. You know something is wrong when testing something to assure it is safe and useful to the public is tantamount to banning it. The move the FDA is considering is not to ban it but to test it. If those two things are one and the same in the eyes of the shock industry, then it’s no wonder they would rather have us take their word on it.
Please speak up. A brief comment, even a single sentence is all it takes. I’ve commented and it is incredibly easy. If you can post on your friends facebook wall or comment on their myspace photo, you can comment to the FDA.
Simply go to regulations.gov. Copy and paste this docket number into the search bar on the right: 2009-N-0392. A list of comments will come up. You can view the comments of others and add your own.
More info: Jon Breeding PhD on Electroshock
The FDA could very well be on the way to approving electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment) without the benefit of clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. This is great for the psych and shock industries but a terrible step in the wrong direction for you and me. ECT is currently legal and administered to approximately 100,000 people in the US and 1 million globally. It is often happening with poorly informed consent and also by force. The ECT industry depends on its untested approval because it simply can’t pass the test. It has never proven to be predictable, safe or effective. Typically the only long term effects are the adverse effects, while the perceived “benefits” are temporary, requiring “maintenance treatments”.
Regardless of whether you stand aside me or in opposition to me in terms of the rights of people diagnosed as mentally ill, the FDA has a job to do and failure in this instance sets a precedent we can’t afford. If ECT gets reclassified it will be as a favor to a large and prosperous industry and not in the interest of health of any kind. You don’t have to join a group, a team or a movement to be able to say you spoke up when it was necessary.
The FDA is open to comments on the issue but only for a limited time and, as it stands, proponents are speaking over opponents ten to one. I, for one, am tired of seeing victory go to the people who speak the loudest instead of those who are actually right. Here are two links that provide information on the matter. Both MindFreedom International and Jim Gottstein of PsychRights have laid out the facts and made it extremely easy to comment to the FDA.