Group says California patients subjected to ECT should be recognized as torture survivors on United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, USA, June 25, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Sacramento marked the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture by reaching out to victims of electroshock treatment and their families to report damage from the brutal practice. The group says the evidence could not only assist patients to seek compensation for being tortured but also help to get electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) banned. In doing so, this can protect others from being subjected to what many survivors call torture.
CCHR Sacramento is urging them to report the injurious effects of ECT on its Psychiatric Diagnosis Abuse Report Form available on the CCHR website here. The report can be provided to legal representatives to potentially take further action.
The United Nations instituted June 26th as the date to unite people in the support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been tortured or are still suffering torture today. The U.S. has ratified the UN Convention against Torture and has adopted it in domestic law. The Special Rapporteur against Torture has clearly identified coercive use of electroshock treatment as a form of torture: “It is essential that an absolute ban on all coercive and non-consensual measures, including restraint and solitary confinement of people with psychological or intellectual disabilities, should apply in all places of deprivation of liberty, including in psychiatric and social care institutions.” 
In July 2018, the UN Human Rights Council report on “Mental health and human rights” further called on governments to recognize that forced psychiatric treatment, including ECT, are “practices constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment….”
Electroshock, also known as electroconvulsive therapy, sends as much as 460 volts of electricity through the brain resulting in a seizure. More than one million people worldwide, including an estimated 100,000 Americans, are electroshocked each year. This includes the elderly, pregnant women and children, although in California, CCHR was instrumental in getting its use in minors banned in 1976. Many are involuntary patients, with ECT forced on them.
According to research, at least one-third of patients have experienced permanent amnesia. A FDA safety study found significant risks: cognitive and memory dysfunction, brain damage, and death and ECT device maker Somatics added a warning to its instruction manual as a result of a class-action lawsuit saying that “patients may experience…permanent brain damage.” 
Despite ECT’s documented dangers, psychiatrists claim electroshock can deter suicide, which CCHR says is grossly misleading. A February 2023 study published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica found that after receiving electroshock, patients were 44 times more likely to die by suicide than people in the general population. 
CCHR says psychiatrists do not want to see ECT banned because it is a lucrative $3 – $5.4 billion a year industry for them.
To provide consumers and families with the facts, CCHR produced the documentary “Electroshock – Therapy or Torture.” Watch it at https://www.cchr.org/ban-ect/ and get more data at https://www.cchrint.org/
CCHR is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 180 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. It was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse.
[1 ] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez; Human Rights Council Twenty-second session; Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development; 1 Feb. 2013
 “Mental health and human rights: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development,” Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, 10-28 Sept. 2018, p. 14, point 46.
 Vabren Watts, “Psychiatrists Discuss Benefits, Risks of ECT,” Psychiatric News, 15 Jun 2015, http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2015.6b16?trendmdshared=.
 “Documented Facts and Statistics about Modern Electroshock, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International,” https://www.cchrint.org/electroshock/
 Harold Robertson, Robin Pryor, “Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients,” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment May 2006, 12 (3) 228-237; DOI: 10.1192/apt.12.3.228, http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/12/3/228.full.
 NEUROLOGICAL DEVICES PANEL, CENTER FOR DEVICES AND RADIOLOGICAL HEALTH MEDICAL DEVICES ADVISORY COMMITTEE, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, pp 148-149, 27 Jan 2011
 Spanggård, A., Rohde, C., & Østergaard, S. (2023). Risk factors for suicide among patients having received treatment with electroconvulsive therapy: A nationwide study of 11,780 patients. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Published online on 6 Feb, 2023; https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/02/ect-does-not-seem-to-prevent-suicide/
 “Which Gets a Psychiatrist More Money? An ATM Machine? Or an ECT Machine?” Citizens Commission on Human Rights,
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Sacramento
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