Dear Sir,While acknowledging such factors as the opposition of many doctors to the use of electoshock, the national variations and its decline in use, your article 'Shock Therapy' (April 8th) nevertheless conveyed a very sanitised image of the practice. Describing it as "a rather humdrum procedure these days", John Burns and Harry Leech also quoted author Carrie Fisher going in for "a tune up", an image further reinforced by the soothing comments of consultant psychiatrist Anne Jeffers stating that "in practice little actually happens". The reality however, and it must never be glossed over, is that a grand-mal seizure is deliberately provoked in the recipient. Electrodes are attached to the head. A switch is flicked and up to 400 volts of electricity surge through the brain causing an electrical brainstorm which provokes a series of spasmodic outbursts involving the entire nervous system. The recipient's breathing is interrupted, blood pressure rises, stress hormones are released and the muscles go into a rhythmic series of violent contractions. The overseeing psychiatrist keeps the current on until the toe twitches, a sign that despite the muscle-relaxing drugs, a grand-mal seizure is taking place. In normal medicine, such an incident is a cause for major medical concern. In her justification for its use, Dr. Jeffers quotes an 80% positive response without stating specifically either the nature or duration of any such response. In fact, a recent study led by psychiatrist Dr. Harold Sackheim of Columbia University, New York, a lifelong defender and promoter of electroshock, confirmed that it causes permanent brain damage and dysfunction. As reforming American psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin states "Psychiatry is the only place where you damage the brain and call it a cure". MindFreedom Ireland calls for a total ban on an archaic and misguided procedure. Yours faithfully, Jim Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland,Cork.