Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry, Random

Professor David Healy: Time to abandon evidence based medicine?


A talk by Prof David Healy from the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University. The talk was presented at the Cardiff University School of Psychology on 26th November 2012.

Prof Healy makes an interesting point about Sertraline/Zoloft (the drug that Anna Byrne was prescribed in her pregnancy) at 9.40 mins and 48 mins. 80% of Sertraline trials proved negative and yet Sertraline was approved long before it was prescribed to Anna and Nicolas Maguire. So terribly tragic, so very wrong and so avoidable. An article in the Irish Independent regarding Anna’s death stated “Mrs Byrne’s GP had started her on Sertraline – an anti-depressant regularly used during pregnancy – and Dr Sheehan doubled her dosage….” This is the same dangerous drug that the NIMH deem fit to be trialed in children as young as seven…Link.

Anway, for those of you with an attention span like mine, I’ve gone through the video and put the time to the important bits:

Ghostwriting at 4 mins

Study 329 at 5.30 mins & 10.45 mins

Pfizer’s Zoloft/Sertraline worst antidepressant (80% of trials proved negative) at 9.40 mins and 48 mins

The truth behind GlaxoSmithKline’s proposal to make data available at 24.30 mins

‘It’s the disease, not the drug’. Heard that one before anyone? at 38 mins

For the seriously depressed, Antidepressants don’t work at 38.10 mins

GSK Seroxat suicide; the way around the problem of Paroxetine/ Paxil/ Seroxat causing suicide at 42.30 mins

Antidepressants in pregnancy at 51.10 mins

Sex in a spray at 51.40 mins

(Shocking) Sacked for not taking flu-vaccine at 54.35 mins

Discussion at 58.12 mins

Weight-gain on Zyprexa at 59 mins

ECT at 62.19

9 thoughts on “Professor David Healy: Time to abandon evidence based medicine?”

    1. Yes, I knew that would invoke some argument, and anger! I don’t really know enough to comment about ECT but I too find it hard to understand, especially when listening to Mary Maddock from ‘mindfreedom Ireland’ and others like the late John McCarty (Madpride) and the late Dr Michael Corry (the wellbeing foundation). Apart from hearing of these people’s experience, the only time I saw ECT administered was in ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Mary Maddock was forcibly administered ECT a few days after having her baby; that seems to me to be very, very wrong.

      I suppose you’d have to ask Prof Healy that one! My opinion, having met him a number of times, is that he is an advocate for ‘informed consent’ but I can’t speak for him though! It occurs to me though, would I trust David Healy (if I was in a catatonic state) to do what was needed? I have to admit that I would, even if that meant ECT. I would certainly never trust any member of Irish Psychiatry to come near me as I don’t think they have the best interests of the patients at heart.



  1. Liz Spikol on video describes her first encounter with ECT.

    “And they’re telling me – the psychiatric nurses who are so burnt out they don’t really give a s**t – are telling me: “Don’t worry, Shock Treatments are no longer brutal. It’s a walk in the park.”

    Then they handed her an adult diaper and a mouthguard with a handle on it (so that attendants could yank it out quickly)

    It took her months to relearn how to brush her teeth.

    “Although ECT’s opponents believe that it causes brain damage, this is difficult to prove. Like antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, and tranquilizers, ECT has an immediate organic effect. But, while ECT rarely, if ever, causes clear clinical evidence of brain damage and has not been shown to do so in animal studies, ….. “

    Dr John Breeding offers a contrary POV:

    “Autopsies of several decades ago routinely verified the brain damage, but autopsies following electroshock-related deaths are not performed today. Think about it”, since the natural electrical activity of the brain is in millivolts (thousandths of a volt), how could a surge of 150 volts or more, . . . .

    150 Volts or More?

    “, . . . directly into the brain not cause brain damage? It is a challenge for all of us to retain our common sense in the face of confusing psychiatric rhetoric. The truth is pretty simple:

    Electroshock always causes brain damage. The question is only how much.

    Electroshock always causes memory loss. The question is only how much.

    Electroshock causes death. Published studies suggest the electroshock death rate is about 1 in 1000. Mortality for the elderly is much greater, about 1 in 200.”

    Yeah, Right, and they Weren’t doing autopsies on ECT deaths in 2001 Why?

    Dr Peter Breggin impugns Dr. Healy’s motives for exposing antidepressants.,b=facebook

    More links to Brain Damage

    Shock Docs can gross between $300K to $500K a year selling shocks, and the FDA has avoided properly testing the machines/procedure:

    Because it would never receive FDA approval if the truth were known.

    Linda Andre was attacked by ECT peddlers, and has written the definitive work.

    And having said that, Dr. Healy’s exposure of antidepressants is a Positive Step in shutting down the industry which lives by Lying Brain Damage and Death into people in trade for money, and deconstructing the myth that it is somehow a positive for anyone except those cashing the check.

    He’s not St. George, but humanity will have to take what it can get.


    1. I have always believed that ECT was a barbaric form of mental health “care” without knowing exactly what was involved. Dbunker’s links have filled my knowledge gap. I now see it as a savage assault on a vulnerable person akin to torture. I also know from experience that informed consent may be given by the patient’s relative/next of kin with little relevant information. One patient’s relative was assured by the psychiatrist that it was so safe and effective that he would have no hesitation using it on his own mother. That was 25 or so years ago maybe standards, information, science and safety have improved since.
      However 17 yr old patients are never sent home with a prescription for a “do it yourself” ECT kit by a busy GP as is the case with antidepressants like Cipramil.


  2. I am not an expert on ECT either- but I am aware that ECT is often mentioned when Dr Healy’s name comes up. I have a massive amount of respect for Dr Healy- and while I am skeptical of ECT myself- as far as I know, Dr Healy reckons it is more the drug treatment with Anti-psychotics in those that receive ECT, which causes the brain damage, not the ECT. Unfortunately those whom usually receive ECT have already been exposed to loads of different drugs for years before and after ECT, therefore it seems difficult to assess the damage. Personally- I am against ECT, but I do have every faith that Dr Healy is an ethical, compassionate and genuine man. He is , in my opinion, the saving grace of the whole psychiatric profession. Ironically though, he might also contribute to its downfall (whichever way you wish to look at it I suppose).


    1. Hi Leonie,

      Happy Holidays to you and yours.

      I had ECT approx 10 years ago. I was catatonic and it was considered a last ditch effort by a p-doc. I was unable to make the decision, so the doctor convinced my next of kin- my parents in a two hour talk and a video made by big pharma- that this was the thing that would save their child from suicide.

      Now any parent hears “this will save their kid from suicide” and they will pretty much do it, despite the fact (I found out years later) that my mother had a second cousin who had ECT in the 1950s and became a vegetable, living the rest of her life in a nursing home unable to take care of herself and died in her 40s.

      The ECT was the worst thing that ever happened to me. To make a long story short, I had a photographic memory. Not only photographic but eidetic. That’s gone. I lost at least 20 IQ points. This cost me a career it took me years to build. I can’t talk in public. I act like a stroke victim. I can’t work because of this- again, no memory, long or short term, and if I am in front of more than one or two people I can’t talk. Just like a stroke person.

      All I can tell you honestly, that if I had access to a gun after I had ECT I would have done exactly what Hemingway did after he had his. I don’t blame my parents, they did what they thought was best for their child. I blame the doctor for not telling them about any side effects and giving them an allusion that this would never let me experience depression again.

      If you are ever in a catatonic state- I would trust you would write down your wishes prior and have it notarized, just as if you would a living will. Think carefully. weigh the decision carefully. I would not wish what happened to me on anyone.


      1. Awh Susan, that’s awful! I appreciate you telling me, it must be hard to share. Stupid doctors again, saying that ECT (or any treatment) is a cure for suicide and depression is just ignorant as far as I’m concerned. I’m sorry that this happened to you, sorry that you were given ECT and sorrier that you were left with lasting adverse-effects.

        I don’t know much about ECT to be honest but just hearing about it from yourself and others, would make me want to run for the hills. I certainly never heard that it was supposed to cure suicidality or depression. Your poor parents were just believing that the doctors knew best, just like I did. That’s a joke, as we know only too well.

        As much as I trust Prof Healy, I think I’d have to pass on the ECT. It sounds horrific.



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