Electroshocking children

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Leonard Roy Frank

Jun 8, 2007, 3:24:38 AM6/8/07
The estimated 1 in 155 children in the U.S. said to be autistic,
represent an untapped and apparantly growing market waiting to be
exploited by the electroshock (ECT) industry. And now a first move
has been made. At least two electroshock proponents are promoting
the notion that ECT may be an effective treatment for children
diagnosed as autistic.

Psychiatrists D.M. Dhossche and S. Stanfill (Deptartment of Psychiatry
and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center,
Jackson) have recommended that "All child specialists -- psychiatrists,
neurologists, psychologists, and developmental pediatricians --
should independently review the feasibility, potential, and risk
of using ECT in autism." To back their recommendation, the psychiatrists
wrote, "ECT is considered as a safe, effective, and life-saving
treatment in people of all ages who suffer from affective disorder,
acute psychosis, and, in particular, catatonia. There are recent
speculations that certain types of autism may be the earliest
expression of catatonia and that both disorders have identical risk
factors. Therefore, ECT may improve autism and, if started early
enough, may prevent further development of autistic symptoms in
some children. The use of ECT in autism has never been systematically
assessed. There have been two large ECT studies in children in the
1940s. Autism was not assessed in these studies because the autistic
syndrome was just then being recognized as a separate entity.
Findings from these studies add little to the hypothesis that ECT
may be effective in autistic children, but attest to the safety and
feasibility of ECT in children.... Unless anti-ECT prejudice can
be overcome, it is unlikely that any ECT trial in autism is
forthcoming. Research areas that may support the hypothesis that
ECT is effective in autism should be pursued." ("Could ECT Be
Effective in Autism?" Medical Hypotheses, 63(3):371-6., January

Dhossche and Stanfill have falsified and omitted certain key facts
about ECT. Not only is electroshock unhelpful, it is also a
memory-destroying, intelligence-lowering, brain-damaging, and
life-threatening procedure that has worsened the lives of millions
of people since its introduction almost 70 years ago. As to the
findings of "safety and feasibility of ECT in children" in two
studies conducted during the 1940s, consider this selection from
"The Electroshock Quotationary" (www.endofshock.com/102C_ECT.PDF)
about what is perhaps the best known study on ECT and children from
this period:

1947 - It is the opinion of all observers in the hospital, in the
school rooms, of the parents and other guardians that the children
[a total of 100] were always somewhat improved by the [electric
shock] treatment inasmuch as they were less disturbed, less excitable,
less withdrawn, and less anxious. They were better controlled,
seemed better integrated and more mature and were better able to
meet social situations in a realistic fashion. They were more
composed, happier, and were better able to accept teaching or
psychotherapy in groups or individually. LAURETTA BENDER (U.S.
electroshock psychiatrist and co-originator of the Bender-Gestalt
Scale Test, 1897-1987), "One Hundred Cases of Childhood Schizophrenia
Treated with Electric Shock," Transactions of the American Neurological
Association (72nd Annual Meeting), July 1947.

Comment: In a 1954 follow-up study, two psychiatrists investigated
32 children Bender had electroshocked. "In a number of cases, parents
have told the writers that their children were definitely worse
after EST. In fact, many of these children were regarded as so
dangerous to themselves or others that hospitalization become
imperative. Also, after a course of such treatment one nine-year-old
boy made what was interpreted as an attempt at suicide." Soon
afterwards, when being admitted to a state hospital, "he said that
he had tried to hang himself because [referring to ECT] he was
'afraid of dying and wanted to get it over with fast'" (E. R. CLARDY
and ELIZABETH M. RUMPF [U.S. psychiatrists], "The Effect of Electric
Shock Treatment on Children Having Schizophrenic Manifestations,"
Psychiatric Quarterly, vol. vol. 28 [supplement], 1954).

"Children have been treated without harm as shown by the extensive
experience of Bender" (LOTHAR B. KALINOWSKY [German-born U.S.
electroshock psychiatrist], "Electric and Other Convulsive Treatments,"
published in Silvano Arieti, ed., American Handbook of Psychiatry,
2nd ed., vol. 5, 1975).

Is there any limit to the depravity of the psychiatrists who use or
promote the use of electroshock on children? If there is such a place as
hell, surely its hottest places are reserved for those psychiatrists.

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