Anti-electroshock advocates protest therapy's use in Quebec
Opponents of electroconvulsive therapy gathered in Place Emilie-Gamelin on Saturday to oppose the technique's use in Quebec.
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, May 13, 2017 12:24PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 13, 2017 2:15PM EDT
Opponents of electroshock therapy gathered downtown on Saturday, calling for the use of the technique to be banned in Quebec.
Electroconvulsive therapy has been used for over 70 years to treat depression but the group Pare-Chocs said the therapy is not properly supervised in Quebec.
Pare-Chocs spokesperson Ghislain Goulet said the risks of the therapy are particularly acute for women and the elderly. He said the technique is often used on vulnerable populations with mental health problems.
It’s the eleventh year the group has met. Several speakers were on hand at Place Emilie-Gamelin, included members of women’s rights groups, an electroshock survivor and a doctor from Brazil.
While use of the therapy has declined in Quebec over recent decades, Goulet said use of the technique rose 40 per cent in the past year.
He added that certain regions in the province use electroshock more than others, calling Drummondville the “electroshock kingdom” of Quebec.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ECT works by passing small electrical currents through the brain, causing brief seizures and altering brain chemistry to "reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses."
According to a summary on the clinic's website, "Much of the stigma attached to ECT is based on early treatments in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss, fractured bones and other serious side effects."