The Controversial History of ECT — An Interview with Linda Andre

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ECT survivor activist and author Linda Andre talks about her book, Doctors of Deception, What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment, with Madness Radio, 2009.

Linda Andre became an accidental activist after her life was irreparably altered by ECT. She lost five years of her life and suffered permanent cognitive disability after a series of treatments she was aggressively coerced into having.

Andre’s journey would lead her to the electroshock survivor community, activism, and later to write what many consider the definitive book on electroshock, Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know about Shock Treatment.

In this interview, Linda discusses her experience, the complex history of shock therapy, and elaborate efforts by the industry to mislead and suppress information about ECT’s true risks, side effects, and efficacy.

If I could summarize my book in one sentence it would be this: if you tell a big lie and you tell it often enough and it’s big enough people will believe it.

Linda Andre

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ECT Myths:

  • Modified ECT isn’t new – electroconvulsive therapy performed under anesthesia with muscle paralytics have been in use since the 1950s.
  • Modified ECT is physically more damaging to the brain because the seizure threshold is raised by anesthesia, requiring more electricity to induce convulsions.
  • Pure oxygenation is used to make seizures last longer, not to improve patient safety.
  • Patients injured by ECT struggle to be taken seriously by doctors, the media, and society. See ECT Arguments: All Medical Procedures Have Risks
  • Celebrity ECT promoters like Kitty Dukakis and Carrie Fisher have acknowledged they have experienced permanent memory loss.
  • Psychiatry lobbied against FDA safety testing at a time the device was supposed to be proven effective or taken off the market. The FDA’s Regulation of ECT (Shock Treatment): A Beginner (or Refresher) Course
  • Conflicts of interest are rife in ECT research.

If you read any book on electroshock, read Doctors of Deception, What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment. This comprehensive book covers all key aspects of ECT’s history, science, and current use.

More by Andre

Additional Resources


Anna is a childhood psychiatric drug and a teenage electroshock survivor. She founded Life After ECT to ensure people injured by electroconvulsive therapy have easy access to resources that can help them understand their injuries and find a path to recovery.