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Mental Health in UK: Maudsley Hospital – protests target brain-damaging electric shock (ECT)

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The controversial electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT ) is the target of a series of protests taking place outside of the Maudsley Hospital at Denmark Hill in the UK as it is “brain-damaging”.

The next protest, which is taking place outside of the hospital on Saturday 23 April at 11:00 am, aims to draw attention to the damage being inflicted as a result of ECT. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a group originally created by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and the Scientologists, is organising the protest and targets the use of “an ECT device being used at the Maudsley which was the subject of a 2018 US lawsuit. The outcome of that lawsuit saw the manufacturer place a warning on its website linking the device with permanent brain damage“.

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by CCHR, the use of electroshock spiked in 2017/2018 when the number of treatments rose sharply to 952. In 2019/2020, the number of treatments more than halved to 437.

Despite warnings about the dangers of applying high-voltage electricity to the brain, there are psychiatrists using ECT who consistently deny causing brain damage. They claim “the procedure is new and improved”, and that it’s safer. But Brian Daniels, the national spokesperson for CCHR in the UK, says that “any improvements in the procedure are not for the benefit of the patient“.

Daniels told The European Times that “In modern ECT, anaesthetics and paralysing agents which prevent the patient writhing and screaming can make the shock procedure appear less barbaric but that’s for the benefit of the person watching”. According to the report, the anaesthesia and paralysing drugs raise the seizure threshold “requiring more electricity to induce a convulsion“.

Today, there are psychiatrists who routinely assault the brain with far more electricity than was previously required to induce a seizure. The result is a grand mal seizure and brain damage, which can be permanent.” Daniels stated in CCHR’s report.

“”In modern ECT, anaesthetics and paralysing agents which prevent the patient writhing and screaming can make the shock procedure appear less barbaric but that’s for the benefit of the person watching

Brian Daniels, Representive of CCHR in the UK

This NGO, whose international branch has been praised by UN authorities will protest outside of the main entrance of the Maudsley facility.

CCHR was co-founded as an independent mental health watchdog in 1969.

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