Ban Electroshock of Children

by Citizens Commission on Human Rights International


The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) New York protested psychiatry’s ongoing use of electroshock treatment (ECT), especially on toddlers and children when it marched on the annual conference of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in New York on Saturday, May 5 (2018).

CCHR’s international headquarters, based in Los Angeles, supported the protest and the need for a ban on all uses of electroshock. It said thousands of adult patients have condemned ECT as causing them brain damage and memory loss. Such physical abuse, if committed by anyone but a psychiatrist, it says, would constitute a crime, and when given to children should be meted the highest penalties.

Through recent Freedom of Information Act requests filed with U.S. states, CCHR established what has been withheld from Americans for years—that children aged five and younger are being electroshocked. Autistic children are also undergoing it, despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approving ECT’s use for autism. One autistic teenager was electroshocked 260 times.

Widespread Opposition of FDA Expansion on Electroshocking Children

As children cannot consent to this barbarity, CCHR says that based on a United Nations (UN) report, its use on children would constitute torture, adding further argument for its prohibition. Some media generate the idea that despite ECT being viewed as a “brain-damaging tool of torture with no place in modern medicine,” it “works.” However, no psychiatrist has been able to prove how brain-damaging a person does anything other than temporarily shift the person’s attention off what might be ailing him—too numb and in pain to remember. But based on many thousands of cases over decades that have either contacted CCHR or been publicly reported, their underlying problem returns and can worsen.

Electroshock has no therapeutic value in as much as it doesn’t cure. In fact, it induces a grand mal seizure, a type of seizure that involves a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, masked by an anesthetic. The FDA has never required manufacturers to conduct clinical studies that prove electroshock is either safe or effective, despite being used for more than 80 years.

There’s no evidence that electroshock is life-saving. Psychiatrists argue that ECT can prevent suicide but, argues CCHR, this is as illogical as hitting someone over the head with a 2” x 4” piece of wood and repeating it 10 to 12 times in a week in the hope that it may cure depression. In fact, experts such as psychologist John Read, professor of clinical psychology at the University of East London confirmed from a comprehensive review of research on ECT that there is

“no evidence that ECT is more effective than placebo for depression reduction or suicide prevention.” He and a colleague concluded, “Given the well-documented high risk of persistent memory dysfunction, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT remains so poor that its use cannot be scientifically, or ethically, justified.”

Today, nearly 12,000 people have signed CCHR’s online petition launched in 2017 supporting a ban on electroshock. CCHR is urging more concerned individuals to sign and let others know to sign the Petition to Ban Electroshock (ECT) Device Being Used on Children, the Elderly and Vulnerable Patients.

Read the full article at Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.