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Electroconvulsive Therapy on Autistic Youth Unjustified and Dangerous, Medical Experts Say


Lobotomies were performed on thousands of American adults, and some children, well into the 1980s before being somewhat (but not entirely) retired.

The procedure acquired the nickname "ice pick lobotomy" in the 1940s and 1950s because practitioners used a "pick-like instrument" to reach through the eye sockets to sever nerve connections in the brain, after first "subduing" patients with electroshock treatments. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" portrayed the lobotomy as a crude tool to "stabilize" personality and eliminate "excess emotion" — with often drastic and sometimes fatal results

The late 1930s were a heyday for experimenting on the brains of those pronounced schizophrenic, bipolar or severely depressed — or as psychiatrist and psychiatric whistleblower Dr. Peter Breggin puts it, for seeking out "new ways to inflict controlled damage on [a] patient's brain without completely destroying its function." Shortly after the birth of lobotomy, Italian psychiatrists focused on the procedure's electroshock component, and began promoting electrically induced seizures as a psychiatric intervention.