Electro convulsion therapy for autism – why it’s not for everybody

Carly Fleischmann youtubeMany of our readers will be following the life of autism advocate and internet spokesperson and will be aware of the fact that she decided to try deep brain stimulation or electro convulsion shock therapy in March 2014; and that this may or may not have contributed to a decline in her communication.

electric shockAn article which appeared this past summer in KVUE sparked our interest in Electro convulsion therapy (ECT) as a treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a debilitating condition that is frequently co-morbid in those diagnosed with autism. Carly described how OCD sometimes inhibited her from doing the things she considered “normal” as in attending college, and getting through her daily routine.

Carly herself had concerns that her OCD was bough on by Applied behavioural analysis, she wrote in March 2013:

‘Applied behavior analysis may be the cause of OCD in people with autism.

I just read an article that’s going to have a lot of people mad at me. However I want you to know that I did not write this article but I do think it makes some sense.

According to the article applied behavior analysis or ABA for short may be one of the root causes for people with autism to have OCD. The article states that OCD is caused from many things. It could be caused from physical or mental traumas or in the case of people who have experienced applied behavior analysis a lack of control in ones life. The article goes on to say that people with autism who undergo up ABA therapy have their days run from them from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to bed. This regiment routine gives the child or participant no control over their own life.’

Corey Odell suffered mild autism from birth, but the OCD took over his life in ways that his mother Karen found difficult to deal with.  She swears that ECT helped Corey overcome his OCD.

Whilst there is no specific evidence linking ECT and the decline in Carly’s health and wellbeing shortly after treatment she disappeared from Facebook, and did not return for nine months. When she did the post had us all worried:

 ‘i cabnt typerc anymmyore ectt didfd thisds to meed brayiin is scrrammbellld needdc fdocttor helphgfi’, which is interpreted as ‘I can’t type anymore – ECT did this to me – brain is scrambled – need doctor – Help!’

There is medical evidence to suggest that ECT could be theraputic for OCD, but there is as yet nothing concrete to recommend the treatment as a therapy for autism.