Here’s a report about a MindFreedom vigil that helped break the silence about bias in a book that unfairly promotes electroshock.
15 October 2007
BOSTON: MindFreedom Maine held a small vigil at the presentation of the new pro-electroshock book, “SHOCK,” co-authored by Kitty Dukakis and Larry Tye. Electroshock is also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.
Kitty Dukakis, who has moved from drug and alcohol addiction to ECT, sat quietly throughout the event.
Her co-author, Larry Tye, began with the facts; that 100,000 Americans receive ECT annually, and that some of them suffer from permanent memory loss afterwards. He did not mention the permanent problems ECT can cause, such as heart attack and death.
Larry launched into an animated speech, urging the audience to accept increased use of ECT. Since he has not received ECT himself, it was unclear why he was so determined that others agree with this controversial practice. It was also unclear why he chose to write a book about this topic.
MindFreedom Maine’s point of contact and Judene Shelley of Mass. were there with handouts intended to lead people to look for alternative therapies and stand against coercion in the mental health system. Their handout mentioned that ECT causes brain damage, citing the work of Dr. Breggin.
During the question and answer session, Kitty Dukakis said she had not been coerced into ECT. However, her husband, Michael, former Governor of Massachusetts, revealed that his brother had been shocked back in the 1950s.
The authors of the book, who claim to have interviewed 100 people who received this controversial therapy, say they do not know of anyone who has been coerced into ECT. One has to question the validity of their research. Did they ask if patients were fully informed as to the brain damage and permanent memory loss?
MindFreedom, Int’l. is helping electroshock survivors who suffer from past treatments for mental problems and from past coercion. They are promoting the use of alternative therapies with the patient choosing which therapy they want.
MindFreedom International is an independent nonprofit coalition of 100 sponsor and affiliate groups defending human rights in the mental health system. MFI is opposed to all medical use of electroshock. For more info see www.MindFreedom.org.