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“All Kinds of Minds”

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This page on the TED talks website contains 9 videos about mental illness, and includes ideas about how music can help people, ECT, what it’s like to hear voices, and other related topics.

TED (conference)

TED (conference) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Interest in shock treatment is growing despite decades-old controversy”

http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/ci_18123096

This article is one I found on The Oakland Tribune website it was posted on March 23, 2011.

The article discusses the various, sometimes extreme opinions and views surrounding the topic of ECT.  I am not a supporter of ECT, in light of seeing my dad go from being able to rattle off names and phone numbers without any effort prior to having ECT to where after ECT he not only relies heavily on reminders for things that had once come easily to him, but being on the receiving end of having my dad look right at me, and not know my name and often resorting to calling me by my younger sister’s name.  I also saw his level of anger and rage increase to frightening levels in the wake of having ECT.

While I do recognize there are some who have had positive benefits from ECT, I feel that it is something that is claimed to be a last resort, but in some cases it is used as a shortcut to try to fix the problem using an extreme method without fully trying other treatments.  I learned from conversations with my mom, that my dad had seen people benefit from ECT where he worked, and was on medication himself for depression.  He seemed to view ECT as an end all solution to fixing his depression and as a result it is my understanding he went from doctor to doctor to doctor getting turned down by each doctor until he found one that said, ‘yes, I’ll give you ECT’   In light of hearing about this and knowing what I saw and experienced in the wake of him having ECT.  I feel that in my dad’s case, he was someone who probably never should have had ECT, and the “treatment” actually made him worse in many ways then he was before the “treatment” because it was something that wasn’t completely right  for his situation.

So, with my dad’s situation in mind, alongside of the stories I’ve heard about people having great success with ECT, I don’t necessarily support it, but I’m also not a radical in terms of being against it.  My personal feeling is that the risks really need to be weighed against the benefits AND that it is a treatment that should NOT even remotely be considered as an “elective” treatment as it seems to have been in my dad’s situation.  it should truly be a last resort, and only used when every possible treatment or therapy has truly been tried and not been effective.  Doctors need to view someone who is doctor hopping and repeatedly asking for and being turned down for ECT as a red flag and a reason to really question if it is actually needed or if the person is trying to take a shortcut in their treatment that may or may not be in their best interest.

The article itself though, while it does offer opinions from both the pro and anti ECT camps, I felt it was a fairly well-balanced article, and while I don’t agree with every aspect of it, I am able to say I can respect the presentation of the views in it.

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