Download Doctors of Deception PDF – What They Don’t Want You to Know about Shock Treatment

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I would not, could not have written this book if I hadn’t had the good fortune to have known Marilyn Rice (1923–1992) and to have inherited her voluminous archives of published and unpublished material on shock. To find all this material on my own would have been impossible; to have it already collected for me was a scholar’s dream. As well, Marilyn was the one person I could call at 3 A.M. to talk about all this stuff. I am grateful to Tom and Louise Krause for permission to reproduce material from Marilyn’s archives. Others who provided help and support on my long and often lonely journey from conception to finished book are Leonard Frank, Juli Lawrence of, Bob Whitaker, Sue Kemsley, and Laura Ziegler. Fred Pfeil was and is my inspiration for everything I do, and Tim Wooten gave me a much-needed push in the right direction. On a lighter note, the forums at and provided frequent and essential distraction and comic relief while working on this sad book. In a sense, I have been writing this book for over twenty years. And the story continues.

The words we use have tremendous power to shape our perceptions and our reality. Nowhere is this truer than in the field of psychiatry. Here words affect our very sense of who we are and, by making our choices seem limited, can have real and sometimes disastrous effects on our lives. I would have prefered to use quotation marks for every occurrence of the terms “mental health,” “mental illness,” or “mentally ill” in order to avoid granting even subliminal credibility to the medical model I discuss in Chapter Two. For editorial reasons the quotes have been omitted, but please read the words as if they were in quotes. When it comes to speaking about people with psychiatric labels, including myself, none of the currently fashionable terms, such as “psychiatric survivor,” “recipient,” “client,” or “person with a psychiatric disability” is broad enough to apply to such a diverse group of people, and “consumer” has connotations of choice that are simply wishful. Whether we came into contact with psychiatry voluntarily or involuntarily, we were all once mental patients. Plus, everyone understands that term. Therefore I have chosen to use “mental patient.”

The Trouble with Time Imagine you wake up tomorrow with your past missing. Although you look and feel the way you always have, and although everyone around you acts as if nothing’s wrong, you slowly become aware that you don’t have the most vital information about who you are. You may not recognize your home or know where your bank accounts are or what you are supposed to do for a living. You can’t remember your wedding, or your college education. Every day you discover more about how much of your life is gone. You’re like a detective trying to find out about the person who was once you. Eventually you realize that years of your life have been erased, never to return. Worse, you find that your daily memory and mental abilities aren’t what they were before. You are somehow slower, less sharp, less able or unable to resume your former work. With the integrity of your life destroyed, you no longer know who you are. When you say what happened, no one believes you. See? You can’t imagine. You can’t believe this happened to me. The most obvious thing needs to be said first. Your memory is not a component of your self, like your hair color or temperament. You don’t lose it like you lose a suitcase. Your memory—the sum total of all you have ever thought, seen, smelled, heard, learned, and done in your life—is your self. When it is gone, you are a diminished person, and if enough of it is gone, you are a different person. Even this way of talking about it—lost—is not accurate. Something lost, after all, may be recovered; a lost object can still be imagined, even if you don’t know where it is; the fact that it ever existed at all is not lost to you. When you lose your suitcase, you still know its shape, color, and size, and exactly what was in it

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1. The Trouble with Time — 1

2. Eugenic Conceptions I: Ticking Time Bombs — 13

3. Eugenic Conceptions II: Useless Eaters — 28

4. A Little Brain Pathology — 44

5. Informed Consent and the Dawn of the Public Relations Era — 67

6 .The American Psychiatric Association Task Force — 86

7 .The Making of an American Activist — 107

8 .The ECT Industry Cows the Media — 124

9 .Long Strange Trip: ECT at the Food and Drug Administration — 138

10. The Committee for Truth in Psychiatry — 156

11 .Anecdote or Evidence? — 170

12 .Shaming Science — 189

13 .The Lie That Won’t Die — 212

14 .Erasing History — 231

15 .The Triumph of Public Relations over Science — 253

16 .Should ECT Be Banned? The Moral Context — 267

17 .Where Do We Go from Here? — 287 Epilogue — 302

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