Archive for the ‘History of Electroshock’ Category

History of Electroshock

November 1, 2007 Leave a comment

In a Rome slaughterhouse, psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti witnessed butchers incapacitate pigs with electricity before slitting their throats. The attendants would walk through the pig pens with a large pair of electrically wired pincers which had metal disks spiked with small metal points on each pincer arm. The pigs head was grasped with the pincers, the animal fell to the ground paralyzed from the shock, whereupon it could be easily killed. Cerletti lost no time in developing this for use on humans to control behavior. Electroshockalso known as electro-convulsive therapy, shock treatment and ECT was thus pioneered by Cerletti in the mid-1930s.

Cerletti was fascinated by the control potentials of electroshock. The first man who received it pleaded with Cerletti, Not another one! Its deadly! A witness recounts that, The Professor (Cerletti) suggested that another treatment with a higher voltage be given.

Murdering the Mind

German psychiatrist Lothar B. Kalinowsky, who witnessed this first electroshock while a student of Cerletti, became one of the worlds most ardent and vigorous proponents of this treatment. He developed his own ECT machine and in 1938 introduced his electroshock procedure to France, Holland and England, later pioneering it in the United States. By 1940, ECT had arrived in many countries around the world.

Today, the administration of electroshock brings an estimated $3 billion annually into psychiatric industry coffers in the U.S. alone. However, those receiving this treatment are the ones who pay the costliest price. Documented studies show ECT leaves irreversible brain damage. Shock treatment causes confusion of time and space orientation, permanent loss of memory and can result in death. Yet psychiatrists continue to use it. Nobody has ever been curedonly deprived of their memory, feelings and will.

Ernest Hemingway

Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway allowed himself to be talked into receiving 20 electroshock treatments. The result devastated him. As he told a friend, Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient…. Indeed we did. He committed suicide shortly afterwards.