Brain & ECT
( a layman's view)


Every high complex machine must have a control centre, some place where, all-important decisions are made and where the activities are coordinated. For instance a large jet plane has powerful engines to carry it through the air, and luxurious space for comfort of all the passengers. The plane is also well equipped with food compartments, so that delicious meals can be served by charming hostesses, who are constantly watching over the welfare of all on the board. But while the plane is in flight, there is one spot where all the vital decisions are made. You will find it up front where the captain, his copilot and the navigation officer are hard at work. During long flight the passenger may rest and relax but these men are always on duty, day and night as long as the plane is in air.

So it is with the human body, we have many important organs, such as heart, kidney, lungs and liver all hard at work; not to mention those fabulous little endocrine glands such as the thyroid, pituitary, adrenals and many more. All of these are necessary in keeping us alert and healthy. Other parts of our body, such as eyes and ears are constantly at work keeping us informed of what is going on. Other digestive organ utilize the food and provide us with energy to keep going at our best. Our hands are forever active doing what we want done, and our legs and feet are busy carrying us where ever we want to go

Over all this remarkable machine is known as the human body, we have a most efficient nervous system consisting of the brain, the spinal cord, and also the autonomic nervous system. This great nerve centre is always in the job, ever alert to protect us from danger and guide as in all we do.

Our most important decisions are made in the brain, some of them quiet automatically, others only after careful considerations. Here are the centres for memory, reason, intelligence, and understanding. Here we decide what is right and wrong, what is wise or foolish, what is best and what is not. Once we loose this ability to think and reason we are little more than animals. Intelligence and understanding are the chief attributes that set man above the rest of the animal kingdom

If the normal functioning of the control centre of the plain is altered, it will affect the safety of the plain and all on the board! Same way, malfunctioning of the control centre of the body-the brain- will affect the whole body system!.. The disorders of the control centre of the body, can be classified into two.

Button Neurosis:- Functional derangement caused by disorders of nervous system
A Button Psychosis :- Abnormal mental state.

But there is not any clear demarcation between the neurosis and psychosis.. Some cases are considered in between these two limits.

Let us concentrate to the psychosis. In modern medicine psychosis is treated by a psychiatrist. Today psychosis which is the upset of mental state is merely considered as a disease and are treated according to the symptoms. No body, so to say, is interested to find the radical cause of the ‘so called disease’ and to clear it.

In a developing country like India there are so many socio- economic problems which cause the mental upset. These mental upsets are treated by drugs and ECT, damaging the whole system esp .the Brain.

Is the ECT a treatment? No, it is not worth the name! It is a dehumanizing process, nay, a crime against humanity, we have to say. A study on how ‘The Nature’ protects the most important part of the body –the brain- is enough to understand how much damaging is ECT. [ ECT is a mad technic, devised from the mad action of a madman at the fullness of his madness!]


Brain the most important and delicate organ of our body, is very efficiently protected by the following coverings.

A Button Scalp
A Button Bone
A Button Meninges


This is the outer covering of the cranium the bony cap of the brain. The scalp consists of five layers, the first three of which are intimately bound and moves as a unit.

Layers of the scalp-
A Button

Skin, which is thick and hair bearing. Hair is an additional protection for the head as a sponge and it also adds beauty to the individual.

A Button Connective tissue beneath the skin
A Button Aponeurosis which is a thick tendinous sheath
A Button Loose areolar tissue which occupies the sub aponeurotic space.
A Button Pericranium which is the covering of the outer surface of the skull bone


Next to the scalp there is the cranium which is the bony cap of the brain and it consist of fourteen bones. The posterior part of the cranium is thicker than the anterior. This is to add more protection to the non visible posterior part of the brain from injury, where there are a number of vital centers. Then comes the endostium and the meninges of the brain and the cerebro spinal fluid. Endostium is the inner covering of the cranium.

The meninges are the membraneous coverings of the brain and consists of three layers.
A Button outer duramater
A Button the middle arachanoidmater
A Button inner piamater

The cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) fills the space in between the arachanoid and pia and acts as a water cushion for the brain. At the base of the brain and around the brainstem the space, forms inter communicating pools called cisterns, which reinforce the protective effect of CSF on the vital centres.

The CSF is a modified tissue fluid. The total quantity of CSF is about 150 ml. The brain is floating in the CSF. The brain weighs about 1400g. in air but in its ‘water bath’ of CSF it has a weight of only 50g.The bouncy of the brain in the CSF permits its relatively flimsy attachments to suspend it very effectively.

When the head receives a minor blow the arachanoid slides on the dura and the brain moves, but its motion is gently checked by the CSF cushion. Without the protection of CSF and meninges, the brain is unable to withstand the minor traumas of everyday living. So touchy and sensitive is the brain. The most precious is kept under a most stable security not to have the least shock and harm in the natural order. That most precious and sensitive part is brutally rocked and burned by ECT! Can then ECT be a treatment? No… No… No… Eternally No.

How ECT works?

Same way, as the electric bulb,when you switch it on! It burns and flames! The head becomes the bulb and the most hidden and securely preserved precious brain becomes the filament! What happens? Burns! What willl be the effect? Everything of a burn! How far? No one is sure of it! .

1. Pitutary gland 7. Thalamus
2. Optic nerve 8. Pineal
3. Septum pellucidum 9. Midbrain
4. Corpus callosum 10. Cerebellum
5. Fornnix 11. Pons
6. Interthalamic connection 12. Medulla

In ECT the brain becomes the filament and electricity is being passed through the brain. ECTs are normally administered at a voltage of 110; but the electric current may range from 90 to 130 volt, depending on the intensity of the shock required. The shock is administered through an electrode, either for a fraction of a second or for several seconds, depending upon the condition of the patient, as the psychiatrist determines.

ECTs are given in two ways:
A Button Unilateral ECT
A Button Bilateral ECT

In Unilateral ECT, electrodes are placed on the front and back of the same side of the head, so that electricity passes just through the right or the left side of the brain. In Bilateral ECT, as a whole practised in India, electrodes are placed on each side of the head at about the temples. The effect of ECT depends upon the following factors:

A Button The quality and quantity of the current used.
A Button The condition of the patient
A Button Skill of the technician
A Button Condition of the machine

If a very weak person, who is diagnosed having a high degree of mental depression, is given ECT, it would severely affect the physical condition of the person and sometimes may lead to the person’s death! If so, we have to say that every ECT leads the patient to the grave! How far near? Nobody knows! But it leads!

If the technician is not well trained or is absent-minded as in regulating the voltage, etc, on how many counts pitfalls can happen! What would be the result? Grave!

I know one mental hospital in Quilon (Kollam district,Kerala,S India] where almost all the incoming mental patients, if admitted as IP, is given ECT! If anybody objects, the doctor or the gang he maintains, manhandles him!

Another mental hospital where the doctor’s wife ( a simple house wife) and nurses are taught by the doctor to administer ECT! Once the house wife at the absence of the doctor, administered ECT to a patient and the patient then and there, collapsed and died! Seeing that horrible scene she fell unconscious. Soon she was taken to a Medical College Hospital for treatment!

What happens if a patient dies by ECT? Nothing! Every doctor is careful enough to secure a signed paper from the close relation of the patient expressing their willingness or request to put the patient under ECT!, not knowing the action or reaction of it, believing that it is a good treatment for the cure.

In 1984, I published a notice enumerating the bad effects of ECT and distributed all over Kerala so to say, to create awareness among the public. That stood in the way of the psychiatrists’ past bucks. They got infuriated, and to this day they have not forgotten it. Last year in one of their zonal gatherings at Ernakulam a zealot said that there are some ‘quacks’ who are even distributing notices among the public against ECT, misleading them against the very useful treatment! Yes! ECT is a treatment (technic), useful,productive and dynamic! But, for whom?

The effect of ECT is greatly influenced by the condition of the machine. Three years ago in a well known hospital in Bombay, the ECT machine was malfunctioning. The regulator was faulty, it was registering a voltage of 250! Nobody noticed it! Every day 80 to 100 patients were given ECT in that hospital! Resident doctors testified that it was malfunctioning at least for the last three months. What have happened to those patients who received ECT during those days? Animalised? Dehumanised? Or died?

The Side Effects of ECT

ECT is having only little effect on mental illness! But it produces a lot of side effects! It is merely depressing the activities of some parts of the brain. Can we pass electricity through only one part of a copper plate? No. It will go through the whole conductor. Similarly how can we pass electricity through a single point of the brain? When electricity is passed through the temples of the head, it would mainly affect the region of the brain in between the two temporal bones, and the same time, it will radiate to the whole regions.

Effects of ECT on:-
A Button

Intelligence. ECT causes brain damage, loss of memory and reasoning . In our brain, the basic mechanism of memory is the development of a new neuronal pathway. Suppose prior to the development of a memory, neuron A was connected with neuron B. Memory development means now, neuron A connects with another neuron, say C. By the administration of electricity, these connections are damaged and memory is lost.

A Button

Sexual desire. In lower animals, sexual desire depends mainly upon hormones. But in higher animals like man, when brain develops more (encephalisation),it takes the major control of the sexual desire and that part of the brain( neocortex) stimulates the sex desire. If electricity radiates more through the ortex it will depress sexual desire. It is noted that ECT affects the sexual desire of women more.

A Button

The appetite. ECT will alter the appetite due to stimulation or inhibition of the appetite centre of the brain. Low voltage current will stimulate the appetite centre and high voltage current will depress it.

A Button

Hearing. In bilateral ECT, since the electrodes are placed on the temple, it may damage, 1) auditory neuro receptors, 2) Auditory cortex of the brain which is situated near the temple. So ECT may produce a partial or complete loss of hearing.

A Button

Balance. ECT may damage vestibular apparatus which is situated inside the ear ,concerned with the balance of the body.

A Button

Sleep. ECT will alter the pattern of sleep. After ECT the sleep will become an intermittent one.

A Button

Speech. The controlling centre of speech is situated near the auditory centre. The effects on auditory centre,may also affect the speech centre and produce aphasia.

A Button

Gait and posture. Due to the electric shock on the higher control centre, the tone of muscles may decrease and affect the gaite and posture.

A Button

It is reported that in some cases ECT has caused so much tension that they committed suicide after the treatment. Recent studies show that ECT increases the suicidal attempt on 18% of the people.

A Button Seizure is also one of the side effects of ECT.

These are only some of the side effects of ECT. The real hazard caused by ECT is unpredictable. The interesting thing is that the actual mechanism of ECT is still unknown. If we consider the side effects of ECT, it is obvious, that it is not at all a treatment, but it is a cruelty to the mankind. Nature is protecting the brain very carefully, but the psychiatrists, giving electric shock to the brain, violently damage all the security precautions of the nature, in the name of treatment! Whether it is right or wrong? The choice is yours!


Thaslima, a comely looking girl, 14 years old, was a student of standard VI while a marriage proposal was considered by her parents according to the custom, that still prevails in certain pockets of the Muslem community in Kerala State. She was cherishing a desire of becoming a doctor, after the example of a neighbouring woman who is a doctor in a leading hospital. She was a bright student, often first in the class marks,during the exams. But the family was so aristocratic as to deny further studies. They wanted to give her in marriage as per the Muslims’ radical customs. The proposed bridegroom Abdul Khader, 24 years old, hailing from the neighbouring village, was on leave from his job in Gulf. Her entreaties failed. Her elder brother who was studying in a college sided her and favoured her desire. But he had no voice in the decision-making process of the parents! Parents’ adamant pose prevailed. She was helpless. Marriage was solemnised as the parents fixed. In her tender teenage she was sent to an unknown house not knowing what the marriage is all about. Just two weeks after the marriage Abdul Khader, her so called husband, left to Gulf, to come back after two years of earning petrol dollars. She was caged among the unknowns. She knew nothing of housekeeping or kitchen works, that brought on her the wrath of the mother-in-law whom she was forced to call ‘mother’ by destiny! She was upset, filled with horror which increased the weight and gravity of the wrath of the mother-in-law. She could only weep. Within two weeks, she lost sleep and appetite, started losing weight. Just one month over since married, at a night during sleep she had a horrible dream, seeing two terrible hands clutching her neck to suffocation- a personification or realization of her fears. During that time she experienced bed-wetting! Which infuriated the mother-in-law so far as to manhandle her.

The very next day she ran off to her own house! She had severe fever attack! She was admitted in a hospital where psychiatry was also attached. Cured from the fever within three days. She was not"that Thaslima in character, their daughter", the parents felt. She was moved to the psychiatric ward. During the period she had unconscious falls. Diagnosing epilepsy, doctors prescribed neuroleptic drugs. Soon she developed suicidal mania and a few attempts were made, but was saved by the vigilant parents. Diagnosing massochism, psychiatrist proposed ECT. Though her college brother objected ECT, her parents consented, being made convinced by the psychiatrists, ECT as a panacea. The first session was a course of five shocks. Some kind of relief and normality was noted and the parents got her discharged. When the tablets were reduced, though she didn’t exhibit suicidal mania she became violent at intervals. Unbearable to the family people, again she was admitted in the very same hospital. During the three weeks of hospitalisation, a course of seven ECTs were also given to her. Again noting a kind of relief, she was discharged. When the drugs were again reduced, she became still more violent. Fed up with treatment in that hospital for a period of one year, she was taken to a ‘considered better’ hospital.

There the psychiatrist expressed dissatisfaction on the ECT administered earlier. There she was under sedation for a month. When started reducing the tablets, she appeared to be still more violent! Hence himself also proposed ECT as necessitated since given earlier in the other hospital. He gave five more shocks. Now altogether seventeen shocks!!! Thereafter no violence. But no sense also. Discharged from the hospital, she came home. As an animal in the human form. No proper sleep, but too much of appetite. No hygenic life, etc. She often used the corners of the room for her nature’s call. Thus continued the life under sedation with high graded tablets! Desperate parents and family members. hearing from somebody, about this centre, took her over here in a very pathetic condition. No action, no reaction, no question, no answer. Pucca gloomy! But eats whenever offered anything, but does not demand! She was more like an animal in a human from!

Her brother handed over me a bundle of prescriptions, saying these are only a few! It was he who narrated the above given details. The psychiatrists made her an animal, dehumanising her. Anyway, no suicidal tendency thereafter. Yes, there is a plus point in it ,in favour of the psychiatrists in giving ECT! Yes, animals also do not commit suicide! Thaslima’s desire of becoming a doctor thus faded away, inheriting a miserable life! Nay more, being a mad, she is divorced! Since one year, she is under treatment here with Ayurvedic medicines. Slowly she picks up. Will she regain her memory? Never fully! She is not liable to psycho religious therapy since the ‘window’of her sub conscious mind is closed, perhaps for ever! I have hundreds of equal cases to be narrated! The psychiatrists are licensed this way to ‘kill or animalise the patients’! in the name of Modern Psychiatric Treatment!

Psychiatric Drugs – Cure or Quackery? by Lawrence Stevens, J.D.