Monday, June 27, 2011

Famous ECT Patients Of The Day

ECT = electroconvulsive therapy = shock treatment. Because who doesn't love a good buzz? It should be noted that several of these folks later committed suicide, so I guess ECT doesn't work for everyone.

Arthur Alexander, Canadian singer
Louis Althusser, French philosopher
Sir Malcolm Arnold, British composer
Antonin Artaud, French playwright and actor
Clara Bow, American actress
Richard Brautigan, American poet
Dick Cavett, American talk show host
Kitty Dukakis, wife of politician Michael Dukakis
Thomas Eagleton, former US Senator from Missouri
Ralph Ellison, American actor
Roky Erickson, American rocker
Frances Farmer, American actress
Carrie Fisher, actress
Janet Frame, New Zealand writer
Connie Francis, American singer
Judy Garland, American actress
Naomi Ginsberg, Allen Ginsburg’s mother
Julie Goodyear, British actress
David Helfgott, Australian pianist portrayed in Shine
Ernest Hemingway, American writer
Vladimir Horowitz, Ukrainian pianist
Pat Ingoldsby, Irish poet
Bob Kaufman, American beat poet
Roland Kohloff, American timpanist
Olga Koklova, Picasso’s first wife
Seymour Krim, American author
Vivien Leigh, English actress
Oscar Levant, American pianist and composer
Robert Lowell, American poet
Spike Milligan, British comic
Paul Moravec, American composer
Jennifer O’Neill, American actress
Jimmy Piersall, American baseball player
Robert Pirsig, American author
Sylvia Plath, American poet
Cole Porter, American composer
Dory Previn, American singer/songwriter
Lou Reed, American singer
Paul Robeson, American actor and activist
Michelle Shocked, American singer
Yves Saint-Laurent, French designer
Edie Sedgwick, American actress
Andrew Solomon, American writer
William Styron, American writer
Gene Tierney, American actress
Townes Van Zandt, American songwriter/singer
Mark Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut’s son
John Wieners, American poet
Rose Williams, Tennessee William’s sister
Simon Winchester, British writer
Frank Wisner, CIA officer
Stevie Wright, Australian singer
Tammy Wynette, American singer


  1. Michelle Shocked? Yes, yes she was.

  2. Carrie Fisher-Princess Leia

  3. Frank - nice!

    Jill - right you are. Adding her.

  4. So glad we have good drugs now.

  5. I meant Simon Winchester once. He walked across Korea and wrote a book about it. Lucky for him it's only the size of Indiana.

  6. Where can I get this done? Do they have booths at the mall yet?

  7. Yep, at some malls. Right next to the dialysis booth. They're a little pricey, though--$5 each.

  8. Wow. I can't believe that Mark Vonnegut is on that list. I know Kurt had many issues with depression and suicide attempts but unfortunately I didn't know too much about his son except that he completed some compositions of Kurt's work.

    The Liquor Guy is Back!

  9. Yeah, I'm glad I've never had to do this.

    A buddy and I once had to help clean out an old church/sanitarium and we found what looked like an old suitcase. We showed it to the guy in charge and he didn't know what it was, or care what we did with it so my buddy took it home.

    This is the closest thing I can find that looked like it.

    Allow me to say after we figured out* what it was, neither of us was willing to touch the damn thing again.

    * (Yes, we did find out what it was the "hard way". And no, I did not wet my pants. But I did bite the hell out of my tongue before he could shut it off.)

  10. Some people swear by the treatment but it sure seems primitive to me. I guess some people's depression becomes so severe that they or their doctors will try anything to help them. I'm with Cam--I'm glad I never had to do this. I know two people who did, and it didn't seem to help them much.

  11. One of my dearest friends was asked by her psychiatrist to consider ECT. She's had severe clinical depression for over 40 years and her meds aren't working that well anymore. He told her she couldn't live alone for 30-45 days after her treatment and that her memory loss could be extensive. She thought about it but decided against it. It's always an option, albeit a scary one, in really bad cases. (But depression can be scary, too.)

  12. I had ECT fifteen years ago. My pills were not working and I was very depressed indeed. ECT saved my life. It isn't true that it causes severe memory loss. What does happen is that you can wake up from the treatment having completely forgotten that you had it. I had this experience and it was very odd! Having said that, I soon remembered. ECT caused me no lasting damage and had none of the side effects of the pills.

    ECT doesn't work for everyone, but then there is no 'cure' for depression, only treatment. With effective treatment, one can lead a normal and happy life, free from depression.

    In the past, ECT was used without an anaesthetic and without a muscle relaxant and patients often injured themselves during the grand mal seizure that ECT brings about. Sylvia Plath, for example, was not helped by this barbaric treatment (I believed her psychiatrist conned her into having ECT) and she did, indeed, tragically take her own life.

    One of the other reasons why ECT has a bad image is that it was sometimes used excessively, inappropriately or even as a punishment. For example, it was used to treat shell shock (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in WW1 veterans. Nowadays, ECT would probably not be the first treatment option for that kind of condition.

    I would say, however, that ECT was very effective for me.

  13. Thanks for sharing, Hannah. It's nice to hear first hand how it's worked for you.

  14. I agree with most of what Hannah says.

    I had rounds of ECT done back in July, 2007 & I lost about 5yrs of memories. Since then, I have regained much of what I lost & the treatment was well worth the, I would do it again.

    Glad to know not everyone suffers from severe memory loss...but I know many who have/do. The point is, I DO feel like it saved my life at the time & many times since. It really should be used as a last resort to what's called "medication resistant depression" though.



Related Posts with Thumbnails