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The Utmost Discretion: How Presumed Prudence Leaves Children Susceptible to Electroshock. Children & Society, 28, (2014) pp. 231-241
Cheryl van Daalen-Smith,
Peter Breggin and
Brenda A. LeFrançois
This article examines the controversial and largely publicly undocumented practice of administering electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or electroshock) to children who are undergoing psychiatric treatment. Conventional psychiatric beliefs and practices are challenged, along with a presentation of the history of scientific research which questions electroshock's 'effectiveness' and outlines its brain-damaging and incapacitating effects. As such, we provide counterarguments regarding the legitimacy of ECT as a treatment option, deconstructing the principle of presumed prudence in its use. Our analysis leads us to conclude that the 'principle of presumed prudence' should be eschewed in favour of the 'precautionary principle', in order to underscore and uphold the medical ethos 'to do no harm' and to ensure the application of children's rights within the psychiatric system. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and National Children's Bureau.
Psychiatric drug-induced Chronic Brain Impairment (CBI): Implications for longterm treatment with psychiatric medication. International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, 23: 193-200.
Peter R. Breggin, MD
Abstract: Understanding the hazards associated with long-term exposure to psychiatric drugs is very important but rarely emphasized in the scientific literature and clinical practice. Drawing on the scientific literature and clinical experience, the author describes the syndrome of Chronic Brain Impairment (CBM) which can be caused by any trauma to the brain including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and long-term exposure to psychiatric medications. Knowledge of the syndrome should enable clinicians to more easily identify long-term adverse effects caused by psychiatric drugs while enabling researchers to approach the problem with a more comprehensive understanding of the common elements of brain injury as they are manifested after long-term exposure to psychiatric medications. Treatment options are also discussed.