Prevent new form of shock treatment from becoming practiced

Prevent new form of shock treatment from becoming practiced

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Elora Choudhury started this petition to Food and Drug Administration and

WARNING: Video below contains sensitive and triggering content

JRC shocks kid

News articles covering recent discovery       

Sources to consider      ,-A%20review%20of&text=After%20many%20lawsuits%20and%20a,is%20not%20safe%20for%20teenagers

The Problem

New and related forms of controversial ECT (electroconvulsive therapy is a form of invasive neuromodulation) treatment continue to be introduced into psychiatry. Regardless of the debate over how helpful or harmful shock devices (or electric neurostimulators) are, many can agree that the regulation and research over such practices need to be increased and investigated to assure safe, effective, sustainable, and necessary treatment is provided. Before this new possible form of ECT becomes a breakthrough—and hopefully not a nightmare, for psychiatric patients and their loved ones, there must be more conversation about how scientific and genuine this approach is and how lucrative it could be for an industry with a history of torture, uninformed consent, and forcing these extreme procedures on people who mostly don’t need it.

This petition calls for the FDA to extensively review their ban on treating psychiatric patients with shock devices, often for behavioral modification, and how that applies to ECT and other similar technologies like upcoming “neurostimulators”, as well as previous lobbyists, healthcare professionals, disability rights activists, human rights activists, and loved ones of those who have received ECT treatment and coercive psychiatric abuse to participate in the discussion. So much effort was put into banning shock treatments nationally, and now the battle has shown it concerns more than one enemy. This is a war on invasive treatments, which somehow continue to be prioritized or preferred over noninvasive and biopsychosocial interventions. The news may report positive findings, but it reiterates details from trials and research that are not perfect—maybe not perfect enough. They could be compromised for profit. Despite the controversy and new understandings of mental illness, and a huge need for reform in the mental healthcare system with their reductionist/complete biomedical approach (the pursuit for a relief of symptoms, not addressing other researched solutions and influences like financial security and healthy relationships or support systems—social determinants of health), everyone can agree a new practice with relations to historically dangerous and disputed ones must be reviewed and contemplated on greatly before being passed.

Criticisms and comments I have for the research featured

  • History of the woman’s treatment includes antidepressants and ECT, which may have influenced her desperation and “untreatable depression” as those could have caused relapse, withdrawal, and further damage
  • No mention or apparent acknowledgement of a placebo effect
  • Was she supported, especially financially from this research? Could indicate bribery as well as other factors to consider when she showed improvement (receiving of welfare like housing, working with professionals and researchers who aim to achieve a positive “outcome”…but maybe more for their work) 
  • The parameters of improvement, reporting of symptoms and functionality: should include more personal testimony as well as seeing how functional she was after
  • Previous point listed insinuates that brain damage is still not thoroughly researched in ECT, so it must be looked into for this technology as well 

Suggestions for future publication and reports of the upcoming technology

  • Review symptoms of withdrawal, relapse, and episodes experienced before, during, and after more comprehensively to decrease placebo effect as well as understand other potential factors that improved her situation and/or previously made her decide to try neuromodulation
  • An audio or video interview, including recorded testimonies before and after, including a forum or discussion period for researchers, behavioral health specialists, other health professionals, and interested others as an opportunity to truly see the changes or effects the study potentially promises and express concerns and questions—with reported responses from UCSF researchers and physicians
  • Details needed by the researchers on how and why they started this, specifically the legal and test subject seeking procedures where they were able to attempt to treat a mental disorder instead of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease (which are strictly neurological disorders)
  • A comparison between previous research and pursuits of innovating neuromodulation procedures to treat neurosis and more severe forms of psychosis, specifically detailing changes, modifications, and key differences between this device and other similar procedures…such as how strong the shocks are and how exactly they are applied on patients
  • Related meta-analysis with ECT research
  • Longitudinal studies that follow the recipients of this technology, and cross sectional studies comparing current patients that have received or are receiving ECT and other neuromodulative procedures to this technology
  • Respond to the issues and controversy over ECT, include relevant perspectives through interviews of physicians, the UCSF scientists, and patients or loved ones of patients


Devices like these can be easily taken advantage of in corrupt and unregulated institutions like Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, where patients (the school’s history includes shocking children and adolescents with autism) experience shocks from GED (Graduated Electronic Decelerators) devices (for reasons as trivial as refusing to remove their jacket) in ABA (punishment based compliance) therapy…links that refer to the JRC case are listed at the very end of this petition. If this device goes through the industry, regulation and close observation must follow.

Further Commentary,so%20because%20of%20these%20symptoms             

The history of lobotomies, shock devices, ABA therapy, torture, and general conditions and experiences of patients in psychiatric and other correctional facilities/centers (throughout history and in the modern day) show that “improvements of neurosis symptoms” can simply come from having deprived or distorted function (or treatment) of the brain. If you shock someone, remove parts of their brain, and have them drugged and sleep deprived, they may be too fatigued or dissociated to even report symptoms. Their behaviors may change, indicating that “hyperactivity” is dramatically decreased—as well as normal function, yet the real goal or ideal patient outcome is not defined. The parameters, statistics, and methodology in clinical research need to be addressed and reformed, as well as conflicts of interest seen from the selective publication of psychiatric studies and clinical trials, pharmaceutical funding and coercion in trials, and the fact that most risks widely known or understood have only come from the FDA’s black-box warnings.

Clinical trials have been found to be sponsored excessively by drug companies, lacking control groups and responsible monitoring or consideration of placebo effects, confusing antidepressant withdrawal and relapses, and having test subjects that primarily reside in psychiatric institutions and that have already been exposed to a slew of psychiatric drugs and procedures. Organizations and professionals that criticize the approach of medication and invasive treatments also say that the science behind these treatments is really about creating brain dysfunction or impairing parts of the brain for supposed relief of symptoms, or to subdue displaying behaviors. The general public is starting to see the adverse effects of antidepressants and how they can do more harm than good. Sustainability is a concern as people can become addicted or dependent on antidepressants and invasive therapies, especially with how (and how much) they’re prescribed. The field over all continues to spark many debates and calls for change by both patients and practitioners.

This petition does not attempt to nor agrees it can ever fully express and include all the information and testimony detailing these issues. Recent news reports have failed to criticize and connect this instrument to ECT, and are blindly praising it—as there is a high need for effective and convenient treatment for mental health conditions. As impersonal my attempts are to express this issue, I would like to state this: This is not trying to negate mental illness, this is to bring awareness to the overmedicalization of it, and how vulnerable people can be taken advantage of as there continues to be stigma, compromised science, and corrupt incentives in our society and healthcare systems. I do not know the woman personally nor claim to understand and have the credentials to help her. I am simply suggesting this could put patients at grave danger if misunderstood and unchecked approaches continue to be approved—and public outcry for changes and banning follows after, but when it’s too late. I have listed resources across this petition that provide critical perspectives of psychiatry. Regardless of what one may think or believe from these other things I have mentioned, the integrity of medicine and compassionate care demands that services provided are properly checked, regulated, administered, and practiced authentically.

Another interesting case with controversial reporting and dialogue, device was still in experimental phase and the woman appears to become addicted or dependent on it:

Other related petitions for ECT

Thank you for your support. While this device is still being tried and tested, putting more emphasis on integrity and accountability can assure we do not have another ECT. Sources included will be increased, there's a lot of stuff about these topics you can find. Communicate with loved ones or anyone who's experienced hospitalization and other invasive interventions and that are comfortable discussing the matter. If we are proactive about this, a lot of future harm can be prevented. 

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At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!