Skip to comments.Shock Therapy Loses Some of Its Shock Value
Posted on 09/22/2006 9:34:51 PM PDT by neverdem
For an older woman I know who was suffering from implacable depression that refused to yield to any medications, electroconvulsive therapy popularly called shock therapy was a lifesaver. And Kitty Dukakis, wife of the former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, says ECT, as doctors call it, gave her back her life, which had been rendered nearly unlivable by unrelenting despair and the alcohol she used to assuage it.
Neither woman has experienced the most common side effect of ECT: memory disruption, though Mrs. Dukakis recalls nothing of a five-day trip to Paris she took after her treatment.
The television host Dick Cavett, who also had the treatment, wrote in People magazine, In my case, ECT was miraculous.
Mr. Cavett added, It was like a magic wand.
But for a man I know who was suicidally depressed and given ECT as a last resort, it did nothing to relieve his depression but destroyed some of his long-term memory.
Such differences in effectiveness and side effects are not unusual in medicine and psychiatry, and they are not played down in a new book called Shock, which Mrs. Dukakis wrote with Larry Tye, a former Boston Globe reporter. The book, in which Mrs. Dukakis details her experience with depression and ECT,...
After a rather precipitous decline in the 1960s when effective antidepressant drugs became available, ECT since the 1980s has experienced something of a comeback, and is used primarily in these circumstances:
When rapid reversal of a severe or suicidal depression is needed.
When depression is complicated by psychosis or catatonia.
When antidepressants and psychotherapy fail to alleviate a crippling depression.
When antidepressants cannot safely be used, such as during pregnancy.
When mania or bipolar disorder do not respond to drug therapy.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
We can't fix em. Hey I know, let's just zap em with electricity...
Normally, only short term memory is affected.
Long term memory is left in tact.
My Mom underwent ECT in the 1970's... she is 67 and acts like she is 16.
Not only the ownership, but the entire editorial staff could use some major shock treatment....maybe enough to shock them back into being American citizens again.....yes, I know, were they ever???
Something I've always wondered..... If you lose some of your memory, be it short or long, how do you know that you're not remembering something that you once knew. If you don't remember it, how can you know that you knew it and aren't remembering it?
If you don't live alone as a hermit, a friend or familty member is likely to notice, IMHO.
I can relate. My mom underwent ECT in the 1970's too when she was misdiagnosed as being schizophrenic when, in retrospect, it was manic-depressive. She treats me as if I'm still 16 or younger.
Yikes! I I must be having regular shock therapy every week for years now!!
As much as I applaud your attempt at humor. This is not a very funny subject.
What's the effect on the fetus?
ECT always reminds me of the book 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.' Good book.
That's why I keep forgetting everything.
Including the treatments.
"As much as I applaud your attempt at humor. This is not a very funny subject."
You shouldn't be so shocked, most folks here aren't very series.
What's the effect on the fetus?
Not much, it is a localized brain treatment.
Better than the major antipsychotics.
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