Advance Statement/Directive: refusing ECT…

I completed and signed an Advance Statement/Directive in October this year…I stated that I am refusing ECT as it is a barbaric treatment with very serious side effects, permanent loss of memory being one of them. 

I was nearly given ECT when I was sectioned back in 2009 even though I was 100% against it and this still fills me with terror…I imagine it would have been relatively easy to have been given ECT then as I was deemed to have diminished capacity and insight, and ECT could have been decided upon by the medics in my ‘best interests’…

I know that the issue of administering ECT to mental health service users is very controversial…there are numerous testimonies from psychiatric survivors who expose ECT as a barbaric treatment with catastrophic consequences for people’s cognitive functioning and memory… contrary to that, a number of individuals who have received ECT, report it to be ‘life saving’…and David Healy,  an internationally known Professor of Psychiatry in Cardiff University, advocates that ‘ECT is the most effective treatment for severe depressive disorder’ (David Healy, 2008, Shock and Panic, ProjectSyndicate, www.project-syndicate.org)…

I would not want to negate people’s subjective positive experiences of ECT…I used to go to a depression self-help group  in the Zion centre in Manchester when I was very ill…there was a guy there who said that he would ‘beg for ECT’, so that he could forget (probably horrible abusive experiences)… I respect that entirely. 

But I want to remember, I want my memories no matter how traumatic they are. I think if ECT is to be given, people need to know about the very serious side effects…in my case, ECT was suggested again when I was out of hospital…the clinician who suggested it said that ECT is a lot safer than  what it used to be and it is administered in ECT suites under anaesthetic etc…she did not talk about the loss of memory or the other side effects…

Luckily, my psychiatrist at the time respected what I wanted. I have my memories now…

 

(Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You To Know About Shock Treatment by ECT survivor Linda Andre; http://www.madnessradio.net/madness-radio-electroshock-deception-linda-andre )

 

  • reply an ,

    Advance statements are a step forward but don’t yet have legal status, as do ‘psychiatric wills ‘ in Germany. When the last government decided to reform the Mental health Act 1983, its Expert Committee (Scoping/Generva Richardson) proposed that Advance Directives should have legal status but this was rejected by the government along with the Committees proposal of a ‘principle of autonomy’ to underlie any future legislation. Their argument was that it was irrelevant to talk of autonomy in the context of compulsory treatment. Discussion about Compulsion as such was also discarded as not being in the Government’s brief.

    But hopefully there are psychiatrists who will respect Advance Statements. Many moons ago I eventually persuaded a psychiatrist to let me remain in a facility (I needed some ‘sanctuary’) WITHOUT taking any medication!

    Best wishes anne

    • reply Dina ,

      Hi, Anne
      thanks for your thoughts
      I too am concerned that if I am sectioned again, my Advance Statement may be overridden…
      hope to see you soon
      dina

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