ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
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21-02-2017, 02:02 AM
ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
These are a few questions that have popped up lately in various ways.

1) ECT (electrical convulsive therapy): Why did anyone ever think this helped in any way, for anything? They must have been going by some evidence, at least?

2) Mind palaces: This is something I read about in one of Derren Brown's books. It's about having a big abstract palace you walk around, with objects in rooms that help you remember things. He would join together two things, to record a memory. For example, when trying to remember the order of a pack of cards, he'd have a visual version or each card in the deck, and would then combine those images to remember the order.

But my question is this: how does it work when you then go on to memorize another pack of cards? Do you add a new floor to your memory palace? If you just start a new one, what's to stop you getting confused by your old associations between cards?

3) Breaking people: Do you think that everyone can be mentally broken and then turned? What I mean by this is that the person is subject to psychological manipulation, coupled with physical torture/beatings/whatever, to try and mentally break them down. The only rule is that you can't do anything invasive to directly alter their brain. The person is then reconditioned to do things they would have never done before, such as killing "innocent" people in their own country. They are released, and still carry out these tasks even though there is now nothing stopping them. (I've been watching Homeland.)

Could this be done to anyone, with enough time and with the right techniques? I'd like to think I'd let someone kill me before I ever submit to being reprogrammed in any way, but I'm not so naive as to think I could withstand anything.

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21-02-2017, 02:43 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
(21-02-2017 02:02 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  These are a few questions that have popped up lately in various ways.

1) ECT (electrical convulsive therapy): Why did anyone ever think this helped in any way, for anything? They must have been going by some evidence, at least?
One of my grandma's sisters was prescribed cigarettes for athsma... Early 20th century medical science was still only really getting started.

Quote:3) Breaking people: Do you think that everyone can be mentally broken and then turned? What I mean by this is that the person is subject to psychological manipulation, coupled with physical torture/beatings/whatever, to try and mentally break them down. The only rule is that you can't do anything invasive to directly alter their brain. The person is then reconditioned to do things they would have never done before, such as killing "innocent" people in their own country. They are released, and still carry out these tasks even though there is now nothing stopping them. (I've been watching Homeland.)

Could this be done to anyone, with enough time and with the right techniques? I'd like to think I'd let someone kill me before I ever submit to being reprogrammed in any way, but I'm not so naive as to think I could withstand anything.
This is just me rambling. Factual basis may be thin. Catch 'em young enough, I reckon you can reprogram anyone. And if you're sufficiently devious, maybe older people too, but it's gonna take a lot for some people. The basic plan is traumatise them - softens them up, makes them ripe for reprogramming - then imprint your new stuff on them with slogans, controlling their reality, making yourself the "father" figure - ya know, good cop, bad cop. You can see a good example in the film Blood Diamond, where they're recruiting child soldiers. One of the protagonists is this really gentle kid, but they turn him into a killing machine without a problem. One of the key moments is when they make him execute a villager. After that he's implicated - even if he tried to escape, the government would try him as a murderer - so he's bound even more tightly to the group as his one hope of salvation.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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21-02-2017, 11:08 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
(21-02-2017 02:02 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  1) ECT (electrical convulsive therapy): Why did anyone ever think this helped in any way, for anything? They must have been going by some evidence, at least?

Currently, (!) Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure used to treat certain psychiatric conditions. It involves passing a carefully controlled electric current through the brain, which affects the brain’s activity and aims to relieve severe depressive and psychotic symptoms. Modern day ECT is safe and effective. It can relieve symptoms of the most severe forms of depression more effectively than medication or therapy, but because it's an intrusive procedure and can cause some memory problems, ECT should be used only when absolutely necessary.

—It's nothing like it's portrayed in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

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21-02-2017, 11:13 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
Carrie Fisher talking about ECT in this video.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2009...-show.html

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He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
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Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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21-02-2017, 11:17 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
(21-02-2017 02:02 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  These are a few questions that have popped up lately in various ways.

1) ECT (electrical convulsive therapy): Why did anyone ever think this helped in any way, for anything? They must have been going by some evidence, at least?

Actually it does work, I've got a good friend that's had it done and it's helped significantly. As another poster pointed out, it's nothing like in the movies.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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21-02-2017, 11:20 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
Okay interesting Smile

Thanks for the responses guys!

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21-02-2017, 11:48 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
I have had 53 ECT treatments (the norm is 6-12. In other words, I have a lot of experience with it.).
ECT has not only saved my life, it has also given me some quality of life, something I haven't had since I was a little girl. Literally.
It also has had very, very little side effects. They stopped the treatment the minute I started to show a few signs.
It is a very safe and incredibly effective procedure.
It is also a very misunderstood procedure!
What happens is that a small, targeted current is used to induce a seizure. Exactly like an epileptic seizure. The difference is that it's done under general anesthesia, so you are asleep, and you are given a muscle relaxant, so you do not move. The procedure takes a few minutes, and you wake up a bit groggy from the anesthesia, but completely fine.
It is even done as an outpatient, so you don't need to be hospitalized, but get to go home after a few hours when they have made sure you're properly awake and comfortable.
In other words, it is in no way torture. There is no discomfort, you just get a bit tired.
While it is not fully understood why it works, it is known that it works incredibly well.
This is a life saving procedure and I will defend it untill the day I die! It is also only given to patients where no other options have worked, and who are chronically and severely suffering. In other words, there's nothing else to do to help these patients function and be able to live a decent life!

I am very happy to answer any questions. I love to tell people about the reality of this treatment, since it carries so much stigma and misunderstanding.
We are not in the 30s anymore and as the others say, it's a very different world from "One Flew over a Cuckoos Nest"! Smile

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22-02-2017, 12:20 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
Ages ago I visited Pilgrim's Rest (a tiny village in South Africa, old gold-mining town now a whole-town museum). They had a penny electro-shock machine there Big Grin Drop your coin in, grab the electrodes and whammo! People used to do it for shits and giggles Smile

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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22-02-2017, 01:10 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
Thanks for sharing your experiences Ladyday Smile

It seems my understanding has been warped by films! I've always thought of ECT as some mindless procedure people did on patients who they had otherwise given up on.

Maybe it started that way, but progressed to being scientific? Or was it always a methodical approach?

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22-02-2017, 01:44 AM
RE: ECT, mind palaces and breaking people
(22-02-2017 01:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Thanks for sharing your experiences Ladyday Smile

It seems my understanding has been warped by films! I've always thought of ECT as some mindless procedure people did on patients who they had otherwise given up on.

Maybe it started that way, but progressed to being scientific? Or was it always a methodical approach?

You're welcome Smile

ECT has always worked effectively. They realized the effect after noticing seizures in epileptic people lowered their depression. So they looked for ways to induce seizures artificially.
The problem was that it used to be done without anesthesia and without muscle relaxants. That must have been scary and strong fits like that, multiple times per week (ECT is normally given three times per week in the beginning, I assume it was like that back then too), are hard on the body. I also think they used way stronger current and less precision back then, but I'm not sure on that.
The other problem was that it was very overused. There's a reason it's only used when other things haven't worked. Because of the invasiveness and risk of memory loss. Even as it is today, you shouldn't do it on everybody who has a bit of depression. Even less when you do it without knocking the patient out and preventing them from flailing about.
Anyway, no, never mindless, it worked, but done on too many people.
I do think the fact they didn't otherwise have effective medical interventions for depression must have caused some desperation to find a way of getting people better. These days we have medicine that can treat most depression, they didn't back then.

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