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New Documentary Exposes Electroshock as $5.4 Billion Brutal Fraud

The Executive Director of Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Sacramento addresses the audience on the brutal effects of ECT and why it needs to be banned.

The Executive Director of CCHR Sacramento discusses the documentary "Therapy or Torture, The Truth about Electroshock."

CCHR of Sacramento premiered documentary exposing the brutal effects of electroshock, calling for a ban of this $5.4 billion psychiatric fraud.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, November 26, 2019 / -- The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Sacramento marked the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women with the local premiere of "Therapy or Torture, The Truth about Electroshock." Public gathered at the Church of Scientology in downtown Sacramento to learn the truth about this barbaric “treatment” which most people think was banned in 1976 but in reality is a $5.4 billion industry.

“It is especially appropriate to hold the premiere today since electroshock (ECT) is an extremely brutal and damaging form of violence that more women than men are subjected to. Research shows two thirds of ECT patients are women[1],” said Jim Van Hill, executive director of CCHR Sacramento.

Many people don’t even know that electroshock therapy is being used today. “It’s being touted as something new and improved by psychiatrists. It isn’t. It’s one of the most brutal ‘treatments’ ever inflicted upon individuals under the guise of mental health,” he added.

An ECT “treatment” sends up to 460 volts of electricity[2] through the brain, inducing a grand mal seizure. As a point of reference, that is enough electricity to power five stadium lights.

1.4 million people worldwide, including an estimated 100,000 Americans, are electroshocked each year, including the elderly, pregnant women and children.[3] Many are involuntary patients or had ECT forced on them.[4]

Psychiatrists -- who admit they don’t know how ECT “works” and are mostly ignorant about the laws of electricity – theorize that a grand mal seizure “resets” or “reboots” the brain. This theory has never been proven. On the contrary, there is much evidence that ECT causes significant and irreversible brain damage.

Research shows that at least one-third of patients experienced permanent amnesia.[5] A safety study conducted by the FDA found significant risks: cognitive and memory dysfunction, neuropathological changes or brain damage, and death.”[6]

While psychiatrists claim that ECT can be an effective treatment, others -- including the United Nations -- call it torture. In July 2018, the UN Human Rights Council report on “Mental health and human rights” called on governments to recognize that forced psychiatric treatment, including ECT, are “practices constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment….”[7]

Due to public outcry, psychiatrists initiated a PR makeover. They changed the name from electroshock therapy to “electroconvulsive therapy” and added anesthetics and paralyzing agents to obscure their patients’ writhing convulsions and screams. It is actually more dangerous than ever. The drugs and anesthesia raise the seizure threshold, so much more electricity is needed to induce a convulsion resulting in more brain damage. A 2006 study reported that “newer methods of ECT have not resulted in an appreciable decrease in adverse effects.”[8]

Where has the FDA been in all this? They have never required clinical studies proving electroshock is either safe or effective -- despite being used for more than 80 years.[9] They reduced the age limit from 18 to 13 for certain “disorders” and reasserted that they will not regulate how the devices are used by psychiatrists, opening the door for them to electroshock anyone with impunity. This appalling lack of responsibility may be explained by the fact that 45%, or $2.4 billion of the FDA’s budget is paid for by industry user fees.[10]

“We cannot stand by and watch as thousands of women, children, the elderly or any person are brutalized by electroshock,” said Van Hill. “It’s time to put an end to this barbarism.”

As the late Dr. Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry and co-founder of CCHR, stated: “and if some doctors harm – torture rather than treat, murder the soul rather than minister to the body – that is, in part, because society, through the state, asks them, and pays them, to do so.

“We saw it happen in Nazi Germany, and we hanged many of the doctors. We see it happen in the Soviet Union, and we denounce the doctors with righteous indignation. But when will we see that the same things are happening in the so-called free societies? When will we recognize—and publicly identify—the medical criminals among us?”

Find out more about ECT. Watch the documentary at and read more at

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 180 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.

CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Thomas Szasz.


[1] “Report on Electroconvulsive Therapy in Fiscal Year 2016,” Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Feb 2017,—Sonja-Gaines.pdf.

[4] Gary Null, PhD, “The Hidden Side of Psychiatry,”

[3] Vabren Watts, “Psychiatrists Discuss Benefits, Risks of ECT,” Psychiatric News, 15 Jun 2015,

[4] “Documented Facts and Statistics about Modern Electroshock, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International,”

[5] 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,


[7] “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

[8] 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,

[9] Citizens Petition filed with FDA Commissioner, August 2016.


Media Coordinator
Citizens Commisson on Human Rights of Sacramento
+1 916-447-4599
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