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Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War

Why ECT is the last resort of drug warrior scoundrels

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

November 7, 2020

hate to blow my own horn, but let's face it: I am the only anti-Drug War pundit who has ever pointed out that Drug Warriors are responsible for the use of the brain-damaging treatment known as electroshock therapy in America. Why? Because Drug Warriors have criminalized the many powerful psychoactive medicines that could help the severely depressed (like MDMA, psilocybin, and even laughing gas) thereby leaving the saddest of the sad with no options for relief other than ECT, a "therapy" that can only win Pyrrhic victories over depression by partially destroying the mind in its attempts to save it. Yes, ECT may be great at making a patient more tractable from a caregiver point of view, but it has no power whatsoever to help the "patient" achieve self-actualization in their life, a shortcoming which has been starkly demonstrated in the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Nor is the movie's depiction of Randle McMurphy's fate a fictional exaggeration, as I have learned through my own personal experience thanks to the mental health challenges of my extended family.

Why then do professionals in the medical community still stubbornly support this brain-damaging treatment to this very day? For the same reason that 12-step groups still basically just tell their members to "grin and bear it," rather than advisedly using any of the godsend psychoactive medicines of Mother Nature to help them change without going through hell first: because American doctors and psychiatrists have fallen so far under the spell of the Christian Science Drug War that they accept the tyrannous status quo as a natural baseline, as if nature's psychoactive medicines did not exist from the point of view of American science. That's why they can still champion a procedure that purposefully damages the brain: because they console themselves with the mistaken belief that ECT is being used only as a last resort, that it is still an important treatment in cases where everything else has failed. But hold on a minute. Everything else has NOT failed. They can only cherish this illusion because they have accepted the DEA's time-honored claim that nature's psychoactive medicines have no therapeutic value whatsoever.

But, of course, that conscience sop is a lie. There is massive anecdotal evidence dating back thousands of years regarding the life-changing power of nature's psychoactive medicines. Indeed, the entire Vedic religion was founded in praise of the psychedelic concoction called soma. The clinician can only throw the switch on his or her depressed patient with a clear conscience by ignoring all such evidence (from the Eleusinian Mysteries to the MesoAmerican mushroom cults) in dutiful obedience to the know-nothing party line of the Drug Warrior.

This is why I say that the Drug War is responsible for the use of brain-damaging ECT in the modern world, because it has not only criminalized hundreds of natural alternatives to such therapy, but it has demonized them to the point that most modern psychiatrists feel free to ignore them altogether. (They want nothing to do with dirty evil drugs, after all!) And so modern doctors remain as clueless about the importance of psychoactive medicine for the depressed as 19th-century doctors were about the importance of washing their hands before performing surgery.

This is why, in a sane world, anti-drug-war protestors would show up outside a clinic or hospital in advance of a scheduled session of electroshock therapy, in the same way that protestors who are opposed to capital punishment currently show up outside prisons in advance of an execution. Such protests would finally alert the world to a so-far unrecognized cost of America's Drug War: namely, the way that it keeps godsend medicines out of the hands of the psychologically needy, all in the name of protecting us from medical godsends.

EPILOGUE: Drugs do not fry the brain, but the Drug War certainly does, and not just thanks to the ECT treatments that it renders necessary. It fries the brain because it encourages our otherwise intelligent drug researchers to ask stupid questions like, "Can laughing gas help the depressed?" What? The answer is no, not if you are going to criminalize it and demonize it and withhold it from billions based on the potential irresponsible actions of a few. But because the Drug War is political, the FDA doesn't worry about the millions of Americans sitting alone in a room looking for a reason to get out of bed. The FDA worries about a few hooligans who may misuse the drug in some spectacular way and thereby get on the evening news, prompting willfully ignorant demagogues to blast the FDA for legalizing a "dangerous drug" -- just before that cigarette-smoking opportunist rushes off to a bar to partake of alcohol, which kills 95,000 Americans a year.

Author's Follow-up: July 31, 2022

Why are Americans (researchers included) so uninterested in the psychoactive power of drugs that have inspired entire religions? Because it is against government drug policy to even envision positive uses for the drugs that we have decided to demonize. The charter of the Office of National Drug Control Policy actually forbids that propaganda agency from considering positive uses of "drugs." And so American writers and researchers have drunk so heavily at the trough of these state lies (and the mendacious "frying pan" ad) that they feel free to ignore the power of criminalized psychoactive medicines when it comes to helping the severely depressed. So, no, ECT is not a last resort -- it is the inhuman treatment that American Drug Policy makes necessary through its anti-scientific crack down on the formerly free domain of American "science."

Author's Follow-up: August 22, 2022

These narratives are not of use to the 1% who own the 9 or so media conglomerates that tell us what is "common sense." That's why they are never covered. Neither will you see coverage of the fact that young kids in hospice are refused effective painkillers like morphine because Drug War ideology tells us that such substances are so evil that it's better to let the kids suffer. Then there are the elderly who are "taken off life support" -- RATHER than lulled to a peaceful death with an immoderate dose of morphine. I sometimes want to pester the average American for not realizing this, but then the media conglomerates never "run" with such stories. If you wonder why, then just ask cui bono when it comes to the status quo. The answer: pharmaceutical companies, the healthcare industry, psychiatry, the corrections industry, the liquor industry...

And the Bill Clintons of the world are guilty as well: those who think that the whole world has to suffer so that one's brother or sister can be protected from themselves. If you want to protect your family without causing civil wars over seas, without creating a psychiatric pill mill, without turning inner cities into shooting galleries, without causing kids to suffer, without causing the dying to suffer exquisite torture, without frying the brains of the depressed... then the answer is to EDUCATE your brother and sister, not to insulate them from a world which, like it or not, has always been full of psychoactive substances. Then end the substance prohibition, which can easily be shown to cause all of the problems that it purports to solve -- and then some (including the outrages enumerated above, plus the stifling of science and the violation of the natural law upon which America was founded). One has to scream because the 1% turn off the microphones for those who speak up on this topic, just as psychiatrist DJ Nutt was relieved of his position in England because he dared to suggest that the meds that we criminalize might not represent the devil incarnate after all.

Next essay: America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine
Previous essay: Using Opium to Fight Depression

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We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
"I can take this drug that inspires me and makes me compassionate and teaches me to love nature in its byzantine complexity, or I can take Prozac which makes me unable to cry at my parents' funeral. Hmm. Which shall it be?" Only a mad person in a mad world would choose SSRIs.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."

ECT is like euthanasia. Neither make sense in the age of prohibition.

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You have been reading an article entitled, Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War: Why ECT is the last resort of drug warrior scoundrels, published on November 7, 2020 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)