Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Monat: April, 2012

Black and Mad

by Mad in America

When David Bennett died, pinned face down beneath the bodies of four nurses in a secure psychiatric unit, he was just thirty eight years old and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It took him twenty eight minutes to die, an augenblick that marked not only the end of his life, but also an eighteen year period in which he had been shuttled between hospitals, jails, secure units and the community. Out of hospital no one apart from his family really seemed to be concerned about him, or for him, or what he was doing with his life. In hospital he was seen as a difficult patient, potentially violent, a nuisance.

The night he died he had tried to phone his sister to discuss a forthcoming home visit, but the phone was in use by another patient. When he returned a few minutes later it was still in use, so he hit the man; they fought and were separated. Then they fought again, at which point David was moved to another ward. When he discovered that he was the one who had been moved, and that the other patient was staying put, he punched a female nurse in the jaw. That was the incident that led to his restraint – and to his death.

David was a Rastafarian. He moved to England from Jamaica  when he was eight years old in 1968. Throughout his contact with mental health services he experienced overt and covert racism of various forms. This is not to excuse his actions; understanding someone’s actions is not to condone them. But it does cast his life and death in a different light. In 1993 he sent a letter to the head of nursing services in the clinic in which he was detained. He wrote:

As you know, there are over half a dozen black boys in this clinic. I don’t know if you have realised that there are no Africans on your staff at the moment. We feel there should be at least two black persons in the medical or social work staff. For the obvious reasons of security and contentment for all concerned please do your best to remedy this appalling situation.

(NSC NHS, 2003:9)

During the fight on the evening of his death, the other patient called him a ‘black bastard’ and shouted at him ‘You niggers are all the same’ (ibid:16). One of his consultants said that David was on higher levels of medication than any other patient she had ever seen. She thought that this was because of his ‘aggressive and impulsive’ behaviour. She didn’t believe that it had anything to do with the fact that he was black, only that he ‘…might have perceived slights more readily’ (NSC NHS, 2003:11)

Sadly, David Bennett is not an isolated case. In 1984 Michael Martin died in Broadmoor, the high secure hospital to the west of London. Four years later, Joseph Watts died in the same hospital. In 1991, Orville Blackwood died of heart failure after being forcibly injected with a combination of promazine and fluphenazine decanoate, again in Broadmoor. All three men were black. According to MIND (2003) in evidence submitted to the inquiry into David Bennett’s death, there were twenty seven deaths of patients from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in psychiatric care between 1980 and 2003 – an average of over one a year. Ten years earlier, the official inquiry into  the death of Orville Blackwood commented on the presence of an ‘organisational racism’ in the hospital  and that ‘…staff and management do not seem to appreciate how this subtle form of racism operates’  (SHSA,1993).

The death of any patient in psychiatric care is a tragedy; the deaths of so many young black men is a scandal.

Of course, psychiatry is not practiced in a vacuum as many psychiatrists believe. Its practitioners reflect the values and beliefs shared by the majority, its institutions likewise. We may be appalled by these deaths, but we are foolish if we are surprised by them. British society remains racist in many areas. The scales fell from the eyes of the more liberal sections of the British public after the racist murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, and the subsequent failure of the Metropolitan Police to investigate the crime properly, and the failure of the Crown Prosecution Service to bring about a successful prosecutions of the five suspects, all white. The public inquiry into these events concluded that institutional racism was at the heart of this failure, the same institutional racism described by Stokely Carmichael at the Dialectics of Liberation Congress organised by R. D. Laing, David Cooper and others in London back in 1967 (Carmichael, 1968). Shortly after the publication of the Macpherson Inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder, Kwame McKenzie wrote about the significance of its findings for the NHS:

Health disparities are brought about and perpetuated not only by culture, class and socio-political forces external to medicine, but also by the ideology of the medical profession. This ideology leads to ineffective or no action in the face of disparities and to a lack of concerted effort to teach or discuss racism in medicine in undergraduate and postgraduate curriculums.

(McKenzie, 1999: 616 – 615)

In mental health, the disparities referred to by Kwame McKenzie have blighted the lives of Black people living in England for decades, a blight symbolised for many by David Bennett’s death. African and African-Caribbean people in England are much more likely to be diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia (e.g., Cochrane, 1977; Carpenter & Brockington, 1980; Dean et al, 1981; Harrison et al, 1988; van Os et al, 1996). Rates of admission to psychiatric hospitals in England for African-Caribbean men are three to thirteen times higher than White men; African and African-Caribbean people are much more likely than white people to be detained under the MHA (Bebbington et al; 1991; Moodley & Perkins, 1991; King et al, 1994;  van Os et al, 1996;  Davies et al, 1996). African-Caribbean men are over-represented in forensic units, on remand and in prison (Coid et al, 2000; Jones & Berry,1986); admission rates to forensic units for Black women are three times those of white women (Maden et al, 1992). Black people (13%) are less likely to be granted bail than White people (37%) on basis of psychiatric reports (NACRO, 1990). And the evidence of the inequalities experienced by Black people goes on, and on, and on. How much more evidence do we need before something is done?

The awfulness of this situation deepens when we remember that this has been going on since the earliest days of psychiatry. Suman Fernando (1991) draws attention to the racist nature of the diagnostic categories used by psychiatrists in the USA at the time of slavery. For example, drapetomania used by an American proto-psychiatrist Cartwright (1851), diagnosed the ‘madness’ of slaves who ran away from their white masters. Savages must be mad if they refused to remain subservient to the White man’s beneficent and civilising influence. More recently Metzl’s (2009) compelling academic research shows how, during the struggle for civil rights, African American protestors were diagnosed with schizophrenia for political reasons.

If there is a single word that is emblematic of the oppression and mistreatment of black people by psychiatry, that word is schizophrenia. Surely it is time to abandon this discredited label, and follow the lead set by ISPS (formerly the International Society for the Psychological Treatment of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses) whose members voted in early 2012 to drop the word ‘schizophrenia’ from its title (see

However, that’s not the view of the Schizophrenia Commission (see my blog  Its organisers assume that ‘schizophrenia is a valid diagnosis, and an unproblematic concept. They say they are interested in all perspectives, but twelve of the fourteen commissioners are either academics, some of whom have made their careers by carrying out research into schizophrenia in Black communities, or senior figures in health and social care. Little wonder that many Black survivor groups expressed a great deal of concern when they found that the commission was being set up without any real attempt to engage with Black perspectives. How is it possible to set up such an investigation without involving those whose lives are most adversely affected by this baleful label?


In response to this disquiet, a group of activists (Jayasree Kalathil, Jan Wallcraft, Suman Fernando, Philip Thomas) have set up the Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label (ISL). We have tried hard not to take anything for granted about ‘schizophrenia’, the great range of experiences and meanings that are bundled together under this ragbag, the infinite variety of (usually) painful experiences that cower beneath its shadow. We believe that the Inquiry (which is unfunded, and which does not involve anyone who receives funding to undertake research into schizophrenia) can access the views of people for whom schizophrenia is not a universal given. We encourage you to have your say about ‘schizophrenia’ and welcome your experiences of it at the ISL website. Please visit the website for more information and to submit evidence to the Inquiry. You can submit evidence via the website by completing a questionnaire or writing to us using our testimony form at You can contact  for further information.




Bebbington, P., Feeney, S., Flannigan, C. et al (1991) Inner London collaborative audit of admissions in two health districts. II: Ethnicity and the use of the Mental Health Act. British Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 743-749.

Bhui, K. & Bhugra, D. (2002) Mental Illness in Black and Asian ethnic minorities: Pathways to care and outcome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 8, 26-33.

Carmichael, S. (1968) Black Power. In (ed . D. Cooper) The Dialectics of Liberation. Harmondsworth, Penguin. (pp.150 – 174)

Cartwright, S. (1851) Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race. New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, May , 1851 (pp. 691-715); reprinted in (eds) A. Caplan, H. Engelhardt and J. McCartney, Concepts of Health and Disease. Reading, Mass; Addison Wesley, 1981.

Carpenter, L. & Brockington, I. (1980) A study of mental illness in Asians, West Indians, and Africans in Manchester, British Journal of Psychiatry, 137, 201-205

Cochrane, R (1977) Mental illness in immigrants to England & Wales. Social Psychiatry, 12, 25-35.

Coid, J., Kahtan, N., Gault, S. et al (2000) Ethnic differences in admissions to secure forensic psychiatry services. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 241-247.

Davies, S., Thornicroft, G., Lease, M. et al (1996) Ethnic differences in the risk of compulsory psychiatric admission among representative cases of psychosis in London. British Medical Journal, 312, 533-537

Dean, G., Walsh, D., Downing, H. & Shelley, E. (1981) First admissions of native-born and immigrants to psychiatric hospitals in South-East England. British Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 506-512.

Fernando, S. (1991) Mental Health, Race and Culture. Macmillan / Mind, Basingstoke.

Harrison, G., Owens, D., Holton, A., Neilson, D. & Boot, D. (1988) A prospective study of severe mental disorder in Afro-Caribbean patients. Psychological Medicine, 18, 643-657.

Jones, G. & Berry, M. (1986) Regional secure units: the emerging picture. In Current Issues in Clinical Psychology. IV (ed. G. Edwards) London, Plenum Press.

King, M., Coker, E., Leavey, G. et al (1994) Incidence of psychotic illness in London: comparison of ethnic groups. British Medical Journal, 309, 1115-1119.

Maden, A., Swinton, M. & Gunn, J. (1992) The ethnic origins of women serving a prison sentence. British Journal of Criminology, 32, 218-221.

McKenzie, K. (1999) Something borrowed from the blues? We can use the Lawrence inquiry findings to help eradicate racial discrimination in the NHS. British Medical Journal, 318, 616–617.

Metzl, J. (2009) The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease. Beacon Press, Boston.

MIND (2003) Evidence to The Independent Panel of Inquiry into the events leading to the death of David Bennett

Moodley, P. & Perkins, R. (1991) Routes to psychiatric inpatient care in an inner London Borough. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 26, 47-51.

National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (1989) Race and Criminal Justice. London, NACRO.

NSC NHS Strategic Health Authority (2003) Independent Inquiry into the death of David Bennett: An Independent Inquiry set up under HSG (94)27.

SHSA (Special Hospitals Service Authority,1993)  Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Death in Broadmoor Hospital of Orville Blackwood and a Review of the Deaths of Two Other Afro-Caribbean Patients: ‘Big, Black and Dangerous?‘ (Chairman Professor H. Prins) London: SHSA)

van Os, J., Castle, D.J., Takei, N., Der, G & Murray, R. (1996) Psychotic illness in ethnic minorities: clarification from the 1991 census. Psychological Medicine. 26, 203-208

Paxil Study 329

A look at how GlaxoSmithKline suppressed clinical trial information regarding their antidepressant drug, Paxil

Women in the military services labeled “crazy” for reporting rape

Women have long been unduly oppressed by psychiatry. This oppression is still taking place. In the military, according to a CNN report, Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’, women are being dishonorably discharged from the armed forces for reporting rape and sexual assault.

by CNN

Stephanie Schroeder joined the U.S. Marine Corps not long after 9/11. She was a 21-year-old with an associate’s degreewhen she reported for boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.

„I felt like it was the right thing to do,“ Schroeder recalls.

A year and a half later, the Marines diagnosed her with a personality disorder and deemed her psychologically unfit for the Corps.

Stephanie Schroeder, Anna Moore, Jenny McClendon and Panayiota Bertzikis say they were raped and then discharged from the military.
Stephanie Schroeder, Anna Moore, Jenny McClendon and Panayiota Bertzikis say they were raped and then discharged from the military.

Anna Moore enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and planned to make a career of it. Moore was a Patriot missile battery operator in Germany when she was diagnosed with a personality disorder and dismissed from the Army.

Jenny McClendon was serving as a sonar operator on a Navy destroyer when she received her personality disorder diagnosis.

These women joined different branches of the military but they share a common experience:

Each received the psychiatric diagnosis and military discharge after reporting a sexual assault.

I’m not crazy. I am actually relatively normal.
Stephanie Schroeder

„I’m not crazy,“ says Schroeder, who is married now, with two daughters. „I am actually relatively normal.“

McClendon says she had a similar reaction.

„I remember thinking this is absurd; this is ridiculous. How could I be emotionally unstable? I’m very clear of mind, especially considering what had happened.“ McClendon says. „It was a ludicrous diagnosis.“

A similar pattern

CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern — a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge.

Schroeder says a fellow Marine followed her to the bathroom in April 2002. She says he then punched her, ripped off her pants and raped her. When she reported what happened, a non-commissioned officer dismissed the allegation, saying, „‚Don’t come bitching to me because you had sex and changed your mind,'“ Schroeder recalls.

Moore says she was alone in her barracks in October 2002 when a non-commissioned officer from another battery tried to rape her. When she filled out forms to report it, she says, her first sergeant, told her: „Forget about it. It never happened,“ and tore up the paperwork.

„It felt like a punch in the gut,“ Moore says. „I couldn’t trust my chain of command to ever back me up.“

McClendon says she was aboard a Navy destroyer at sea when a superior raped her on the midnight to 2 a.m. watch. After reporting the attack, she was diagnosed with a personality disorder and deemed unfit to serve.

„I was good enough to suit up and show up and serve, but I wasn’t good enough after the fact,“ McClendon says.

Despite the Defense Department’s „zero tolerance“ policy, there were 3,191 military sexual assaults reported in 2011. Given that most sexual assaults are not reported, the Pentagon estimates the actual number was probably closer to 19,000.

The number of sexual assaults in the military is unacceptable.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

„The number of sexual assaults in the military is unacceptable,“ Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a news conference in January. „Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day to keep America safe. We have a moral duty to keep them safe from those who would attack their dignity and their honor.“

Related: Military sex assault complaints have leveled off

Transcript: Panetta condemns military sexual assaults

But Anu Bhagwati, a former company commander in the Marines and executive director of Service Women’s Action Network, a veterans advocacy group, says she sees a pattern of the military using psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of women who report sexual assaults.

„It’s convenient to sweep this under the rug. It’s also extremely convenient to slap a false diagnosis on a young woman … and then just get rid of them so you don’t have to deal with that problem in your unit. And, unfortunately, a lot of sexual assault survivors are considered problems,“ Bhagwati says.

From 2001 to 2010, the military discharged more than 31,000 service members because of personality disorder, according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Asked by CNN how many of these cases involved sexual assault cases, the Defense Department says it does not keep such figures, nor would the Pentagon comment on individual cases.

The diagnoses

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-IV, defines a personality disorder as a long-standing, inflexible pattern of maladaptive behavior and coping, beginning in adolescence or early adulthood.

That would mean women like Schroeder, Moore and McClendon had a pre-existing personality disorder when they joined the military. Someone with personality disorder tends to get fired from jobs, get in trouble with the law or at school or is unable to maintain relationships.

„It makes absolutely no sense medically for people to be diagnosed all of a sudden after being sexually assaulted as an adult in the military to say ‚No, you’ve had this all along,'“ says Bhagwati, of the Service Women’s Action Network.

„These women have clearly been able to function. They’ve made it through basic training. They’ve made it through all the follow-on training. Many of them are deployed overseas in war, and they’ve done fine there. But, when they’re sexually assaulted, and then report it, it seems very suspicious that the military would suddenly stamp them with a pre-existing condition that bars them from serving anymore.“

Dr. Liza H. Gold, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, says it’s a rule of thumb among psychiatrists not to diagnose someone with a personality disorder in the middle of a traumatic experience like a divorce, litigation or the aftermath of a sexual assault.

The DSM-IV says: „When personality changes emerge and persist after an individual has been exposed to extreme stress, a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder should be considered.“

Also, by definition, a personality disorder diagnosis cannot be caused by another psychiatric condition, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Gold says.

In 2003, when she returned to Germany from a deployment in Israel, Moore says a new Army counselor changed her diagnosis from severe depression to borderline personality disorder after only a half-hour session.

Gold is not familiar with Moore’s case, but she says a personality disorder was not a diagnosis that typically could be made quickly.

The numbers

Military records show the personality disorder diagnosis is being used disproportionately on women, according to military records obtained by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic under a Freedom of Information Act request.

–In the Army, 16% of all soldiers are women, but females constitute 24% of all personality disorder discharges.

–Air Force: women make up 21% of the ranks and 35% of personality disorder discharges.

–Navy: 17% of sailors are women and 26% of personality disorder discharges

–Marines: 7% of the Corps and 14% of personality disorder discharges

The records don’t reflect how many of those women had reported sexual assault.

The cost

A personality diagnosis discharge can carry a heavy financial burden.

In the military’s eyes, a personality disorder diagnosis is a pre-existing condition and does not constitute a service-related disability. That means sexual assault victims with personality disorder discharges don’t receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help with their trauma. They can still apply for benefits, but it’s considered an uphill battle.

There are other costs. For example, members of the armed forces who receive a personality disorder discharge lose education benefits under the GI Bill.

Moore, now 32 and married, says the Army came after her for $2,800 of the enlistment bonus she received when she signed up for six years. With interest and penalties, the bill topped $6,000. Moore says she’s still paying it off.

17-year vet Celeste Santana was diagnosed with a disorder and lost her pension after reporting a sexual assault.
17-year vet Celeste Santana was diagnosed with a disorder and lost her pension after reporting a sexual assault.

Celeste Santana, a former Navy lieutenant commander, lost her pension when she was involuntarily separated from the military in 2011 after 17 years of active duty — three years short of being eligible to retire. Santana says the Navy gave her an adjustment disorder after she reported being sexual assaulted in the middle of the night at a forward operating base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. She says no medical evaluation ever took place.

An adjustment disorder is an excessive response to a stressful experience, typically lasting three to six months. For example, Gold says, someone who is fired from a job, stops eating, refuses to get out of bed and won’t talk to anyone might be suffering from an adjustment disorder.

Secondary injury

Veterans who talked to CNN all say lack of military response to their reports of assault added to their emotional trauma. Gold says therapists call this a „secondary injury.“ McClendon, Moore and Schroeder each say they became suicidal.

Panayiota Bertzikis received an adjustment disorder diagnosis and was forced out of the Coast Guard in 2006 — after reporting to her superiors that she had been punched in the face and raped by a shipmate during an off-duty hike.

When she reported the attack, Bertzikis says the chief of her Coast Guard station ordered her and her attacker to clean out an attic on base together and told to work out their differences.

„I am the victim of this crime, and then you report it, and then I felt like I was the one on trial — I was the one who did something wrong,“ Bertzikis says. „He got a free pass. I was the one fighting to stay in.“

Bhagwati, who runs the Service Women’s Action Network, says the sense of betrayal is profound for sexual assault victims whose allegations are not taken seriously.

„Very commonly victims will hear that they’re lying whores. It’s very common,“ Bhagwati says. „That kind of betrayal deepens the trauma so, so much, and it’s hard to recover from that. I mean, it’s akin to incest where you grow up with a family, with someone you trust, admire and in many cases, salute, is your perpetrator. It’s a huge betrayal that often entails guilt, embarrassment, shame. You’re made to feel that you did something wrong and you could have prevented it from happening.“

In the civilian world, sexual assault victims can quit their jobs, go to court, go to the media, says J.D. Hamel, a Marine veteran and Yale Law student involved at the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. If higher-ups don’t follow-up on allegations, Hamel explains, there is no other recourse.

„If the command doesn’t deal with it, no one is going to deal with it,“ he says. „It’s just a very lonely position to be in. It’s hard for people who have never been in the military to realize how all-encompassing military life is.“

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, says the military has used personality and other psychiatric diagnoses „almost robotically“ to force women who report sexual assaults out of the service.

„It’s the default position the military uses,“ says Speier, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. „The problem we have in the military is the unit commander is in charge of the entire process.“

Speier has introduced legislation that would take sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and assign them to an autonomous office at the Pentagon.

Bhagwati says victims of sexual assault in the military should be able to sue for damages in civil court.

It’s far too convenient to do the wrong thing now.
Anu Bhagwati, Service Women’s Action Network

„Until there’s a deterrent, you’re going to have far too much incentive to the average commander, to the average perpetrator, to do the wrong thing,“ she says. „It’s far too convenient to do the wrong thing now.“

Military response

The Pentagon has made changes in policy on personality disorder diagnoses and discharges.

Army guidelines enacted in 2008 require commanders to review administrative separations, such as personality and adjustment disorder discharges, for sexual assault victims. The commander must assess whether the separation „appears to be in retaliation“ for reporting the sexual assault or involves a medical condition like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After congressional hearings in 2008 looking into Afghanistan and Iraq combat veterans who received personality discharges, the Pentagon also changed the rules to require a psychiatrist or PhD-level psychologist to diagnose personality disorder on troops who „served or are currently serving in imminent danger pay areas.“

The new rules require personality disorder diagnoses for combat veterans to be corroborated a by a peer or higher-level mental health professional and endorsed by the surgeon general of the relevant military branch. This added layer of protection against misdiagnoses does not affect sexual assault victims.

Bertzikis started blogging about her case and says she found other women — and some men — who described similar experiences. She has started two websites: and, a chance for victims of military sexual assault to share their stories.

„For me, writing has been very helpful,“ Bertzikis says.

At his January news conference, Secretary Panetta announced that for the first time service members who reported a sexual assault would be allowed to make an immediate request to transfer to a different unit. The commanding officer would then have 72 hours to decide whether to grant the request.

Panetta also ordered an assessment of the training that commanding officers and senior enlisted personnel receive on sexual assault prevention and response. That report is scheduled to be completed next month.

Moore and Schroeder each say they’d still be in the military if the military had aggressively pursued their attackers and allowed them to switch units. But Schroeder is skeptical about the Pentagon’s efforts.

„It’s all just talk. It’s for show,“ Schroeder says.

Bertzikis started and runs the Military Rape Crisis Center, which helps victims of sexual assault in the military. She and Schroeder have joined a lawsuit suing the Defense Department for unspecified monetary damages for a culture that permitted sexual assaults.

Asked by CNN about the lawsuit, the Defense Department says it does not comment on pending litigation.

What my chain of command did to me was cruel.
Anna Moore

As for the personality and adjustment disorder discharges, the Pentagon tells CNN: „We encourage all separating service members who believe their discharges were incorrectly characterized or processed to request adjudication through their respective military department’s Discharge Review Board and Board for Correction of Military Records.“

McClendon, 41, is married and the mother of four. She teaches college humanities courses. Two or three times a week, she says she’s awakened by nightmares.

Schroeder, 30, is getting a business degree and taking care of her daughters, who are in second and third grade. She says she suffers from anxiety and depression and is fighting the Department of Veterans Affairs for a PTSD diagnosis.

Moore, 32, received a diagnosis of PTSD from the Veterans Affairs and is on full disability.

„I have nightmares all the time and flashbacks and things like that,“ Moore says. „I’m still paranoid of the outside world and how cruel people can be — because what my chain of command did to me was cruel and unnecessary.“

New Study Confirms Electroshock (ECT) Causes Brain Damage

by Huffingtonpost

A new study shows ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) causes brain damage? That’s not what you will find in the many promotional press releases published in the mainstream media. As usual, biopsychiatric press releases always come out before the research articles are easily available, making critical analysis impossible until the wave of false promotional euphoria has passed. The Bloomberg News headline crowed: „Shock Therapy’s Effect on Depression Discovered, Researchers Say.“ The Huffington Post news headline, posted March 20, 2012 declared „Shock Therapy’s Effect On Depressed Brain Explained by New Electroconvulsive Therapy Study.“ Time Healthland’s article was titled „How Electroconvulsive Therapy Works for Depression.“ Fox News‘ headline for the Reuters news story they carried said: „Study shows how electrotherapy may treat depression.“

The media coverage was unquestioning and wholly positive. ECT is touted as the best treatment for depression and we are told that science has finally, after more than 70 years, found out how it works. The method used was bilateral ECT — the most grossly damaging and most commonly used form of the treatment. Both electrodes are placed over the temples, overlapping the frontal lobes of the brain. The most intensive surge of electricity hits the memory centers in the tip of the temporal lobes and affects the highest human functions in the frontal lobes.

The title of the research paper actually tells the story: „Electroconvulsive therapy reduces frontal cortical connectivity in severe depressive disorder.“ The specific area is the „dorsolateral prefrontal cortical region.“ This is the same area assaulted by surgical lobotomy. It contains nerve trunks connecting the rest of the brain with the frontal lobes — the seat of our capacity to be thoughtful, insightful, loving, and creative. Think of what it takes to be a person; all of that requires the unimpaired functioning and connectivity of the frontal lobes of your brain.

Using a functional MRI in nine patients, the authors of the study conclude, „Our results show that ECT has lasting effects on the functional architecture of the brain.“ The result of these lasting effects is „decrease in functional connectivity“ with other parts of the brain. In other words, the frontal lobes are cut off from the rest of the brain. The authors call this „disconnectivity.“ Does this sound familiar? It is a „lasting“ frontal lobotomy.

This new study contradicts claims by shock advocates such as psychiatrist David Healy that ECT does not cause brain damage.

The report argues that this ECT effect supports the idea that depressive patients have too much activity in their frontal lobes and are returned to normal bv damaging the offending area of the brain. Psychiatry frequently takes this position. For example, antipsychotic drugs (which four of the nine patients were taking) also reduce the function of the frontal lobes, in this case by suppressing the main trunk nerves from deeper in the brain to the frontal lobes (dopamine neurotransmission). Proponents of the drugs then claim that the patients have an excess of activity in these nerve trunks, so that the patient is helped by damaging the region.

The word „damage“ is never used in this study. But what else are these „lasting effects on the functional architecture of the brain,“ other than a manifestation of ECT-induced brain damage in the before and after shock treatment MRIs that were done? The study is so poorly reported that we only know that the MRIs were conducted sometime „after,“ presumably very soon after the ECT. We can only hope that these victims of ECT will recover with time, but the most extensive long-term follow-up study indicates that most ECT patients will never recover from the damage in the form of persistent severe mental deficits.

Since the patients had all been heavily medicated in the past, and were continued on medications and given anesthesia during the ECT — a combination of traumatic effects probably complicate and add to the brain damage to the frontal lobes.

For a long time now, I have been scientifically demonstrating that ECT is a closed-head injury in the form of an electrical lobotomy. Now we find that the ECT damage is sufficiently gross to show up on an MRI — but we are told it’s good for the patients. This is what I call „the brain-disabling principle of psychiatric treatment.“ Lobotomy, ECT and psychiatric drugs all share the common factor that they „work“ by damaging the brain and suppressing brain function.

The authors of the study note that antidepressants probably work by doing the same thing — producing „disconnectivity“ between emotion-regulating centers in the brain.

From its inception, psychiatry has promoted brain damage as treatment. Nothing has changed in this regard except the arguments are more subtle and lobotomy is now being called „disconnectivity.“

The authors argue that the patients are helped because they do better on a checklist of depressive symptoms. In this study, the checklist was administered after the last ECT, the period of time when the patient’s brain is most acutely disturbed and the individual is frequently disoriented and even delirious. It would be similar to giving a psychological test to someone right after a very severe series of concussions.

After brain injury — especially to the highest centers which express emotional awareness, self-insight, and judgment — individuals stop reporting their upset or distressing feelings. They have either lost awareness or they are too apathetic to care anymore. That, again, is the lobotomy effect. Apathy and indifference is the final result of all of the most potent psychiatric treatments.

Psychiater bauen umfassende Forschungsdatenbank auf

by aerzteblatt

Eine neue zentrenübergreifende Datenbank der Psychiatrie in Deutschland soll Aufschluss über die Entstehung und den Verlauf psychischer Erkrankungen geben. Über den Auftakt für die sogenannte DGPPN-Kohorte informierte jetzt die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Nervenheilkunde(DGPPN).

Das Projekt sieht vor, in den nächsten zehn Jahren wissenschaftlich relevante Daten von 100.000 Patienten mit schizophrenen und affektiven Störungen, Angsterkrankungen, Abhängigkeits-Erkrankungen und Demenzen zu erfassen. „Eine solche Kohorte ist ein Meilenstein in der psychiatrischen Forschung in Deutschland“, sagte der DGPPN-Präsident Peter Falkai.

Vor allem Daten zum Verlauf der Störungen seien bisher eher selten oder nur innerhalb kleiner Stichproben erhoben worden. Doch nur sehr große Stichproben ließen verlässliche Aussagen über die Entstehung und den Verlauf von psychischen Erkrankungen zu.

Auf die innovative IT-Struktur der DGPPN-Kohorte wies Thomas Schulze von der Universität Göttingen hin.  „Wir bauen hier ein Netzwerk auf, an dem jedes wissenschaftlich tätige Zentrum unabhängig von seiner Größe partizipieren kann, indem es Daten und Biomaterialien zur DGPPN-Kohorte beisteuert“, erläutert er. Gleichzeitig genüge die Datenbank allen Datenschutz-Anforderungen.

Er betonte, dass Projekt solle nicht nur die biologisch-psychiatrische Forschung voran bringen. Die DGPPN-Kohorte umfasse Möglichkeiten für die vernetzte Forschung auf allen Gebieten der Psychiatrie, beispielsweise der Epidemiologie, der klinische Forschung oder der psychiatrische Versorgungsforschung.