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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Balanced Book
As a psychotherapist and a woman who has experienced clinical depression myself, I found this book of immense value to recommend to others who may seek the relief afforded by the newer and much improved unilateral shock treatments (ECT), originally pioneered by Italian physician Ugo Cerletti (1877-1963).

In alternating chapters, Kitty Dukakis (the former...
Published on January 5, 2007 by Ruth Z. Deming

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ECT and my fears.
My psychiatrist has suggested ECT for me and recomended this book to me. It is an interesting book, but did not do much to calm my fears. I would still recomend the book, especially to family members of anyone considering ECT, it might help them better understand what happens.
Published on September 13, 2010 by K. Garcia


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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Balanced Book, January 5, 2007
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
As a psychotherapist and a woman who has experienced clinical depression myself, I found this book of immense value to recommend to others who may seek the relief afforded by the newer and much improved unilateral shock treatments (ECT), originally pioneered by Italian physician Ugo Cerletti (1877-1963).

In alternating chapters, Kitty Dukakis (the former Katharine Dickson, b. 1936, daughter of Boston Pops' director) writes her candid accounts of the treatment that saved her life, while journalist Larry Tye discusses the historic evolution of the treatment, which includes other desperate measures throughout history to help people suffering from mental illness. His thorough reporting makes for excellent though often gruesome reading.

Kitty herself is a marvel. The mother of three adoring children and wife of former Mass. governor Michael Dukakis, she suffered from an underlying depression, later diagnosed as bipolar disorder, since a teen, when, like her mother, she popped diet pills as if they were candy. Later on, she became an alcoholic, hiding her bottles from her family, as do many alcoholics.

With amazing candor that is certain to help others, she shares the steps of her recovery that include the unconditional support - and asking of the right questions - of her wonderful family. Currently, Kitty, at age 69, is on no medication for her depression, but has regular ECT every 8 or so months, under the care of her longtime trusted physician at Mass. General Hospital.

No one truly knows why ECT works. Writes Kitty, "I used to deny when a depressive episode was coming... I knew how much it would hurt, how long the darkness would last.... Now I know there is something that will work and work quickly."

When her husband lost his 1988 Presidential bid, Kitty admitted publicly about her depression and checked into a hospital. She received a beautiful note from Betty Ford, who suffered from the same condition.

This is a wonderful book that gives the depression sufferer exactly what they need: information and hope. It belongs on the shelves of local libraries and in the offices of mental health agencies. A helpful Epilogue is included at the end, including a note on "How to plan for memory loss."

Again, the treatment has far advanced from its earlier days and should be considered in treatment-resistant cases, where its amazing success rate is between 80 and 90 percent.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kitty Got it Right, October 12, 2006
By 
J. Sargent (Plant City, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
In 1995 my husband had exhausted all traditional treatments for depression. The Duke neurologists sent us to Menninger in Topeka, KS for ECT. My husband had 15 treatments. He left the hospital the week after his last treatment. (He was a retired Executive who had become catatonic in his depressive-state). He then began living again...He returned to his Gentleman's Farm in North Carolina and re-took the reigns. He had more energy than I did, and I was 30 years younger...

Six years later I became depressed. I had had a front-seat observatory of my husband's success and asked my Ft. Lauderdale psychiatrist for "the treatment". Fortunately my doctor was the only doctor practicing in Ft. Lauderdale who used ECT.

He made me wait one full year to be sure I truly wanted ECT. Kitty discusses withdrawing from all medication before the treatment can begin. That is what I experienced. She gives you the play-by-play. You know what to expect from her experiences.

After 5 treatments, I went home and spent a week in the sun. The next week I began working full-time. That was the first time I had worked outside the home in 15 years. I was a productive member of society again. I smiled all day...My life had been returned to me.

I commend Kitty for her bravery. She has tackled a subject shrouded in secrecy, mystery and old myths. She makes the treatment embraceable. Her descriptions are on the money. Her experiences guide us. Gone are the days of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" depravity. Thanks to her directness, middle-America now has access to another treatment for this horrible disease.

"Shock" is a great read. Kitty creates a text of what my friends and family needed to know in words far more eloquent than mine. This book is educational and filled with cutting-edge information. It SHOULD be read by anyone who ever suffered from depression. And, it WOULD be a great gift to anyone still suffering. It SHOULD be in the library of anyone who has ever had the treatment.

Kitty has created a venue for discussion of Shock Treatment, a subject hushed out of parlors for too many years. In her bravery, she offers straightforward candor and then proves to be an inspiration to all of us. I only wish she had written this book many years earlier.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Informative, October 10, 2006
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
My Psychiatrist mentioned ECT Treatments some time ago and I immediately dismissed the suggestion based on my ignorance of it. I was uninformed and afraid of it. But, after reading this book, I'm going to bring up the subject of ECT Treatments next session. I don't know what will happen, but ECT is now an option for me to at least seriously consider.

By the way, I really liked the format the authors used alternating chapters. I wish other medical books were written in a similar fashion. Thank you to both authors for having the courage to write such a wonderful book. Believe me when I tell you, I know how much anti-psychiatry sentiment is in the world. It troubles me, but I can understand when survivors speak out. Mental Illness is so very difficult in so many ways.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, informative and potentially life-saving. A+, September 30, 2006
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
Excellent book. Ms. Dukakis was very brave to share her story. I related to so much of her story. Unfortunately for me, electroconvulsive therapy did not work for me.

What finally did work? An out-patient procedure called vagus nerve stimulation. It saved my life. I would recommend a great book about this new FDA approved therapy "Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression." Depression is truely a "black hole" and thankfully I have been out of the "black hole" for over a year.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a rational dsicussion, March 23, 2007
The circumstances that force us to make a choice tend to be the very circumstances that cloud our judgment. Not helping is the hysteria and hyperbole that pass for information on the internet. A psychiatric crisis is not the time to carefully weigh ECT's pros and cons. Making a rational decision is best done well ahead of time, while we have our wits about us. Read "Shock," do further research, and make up your own mind.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. I applaud Mrs. Dukakis for her courage!, October 22, 2006
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
This book is a great "primer" on electroconvulsive therapy. Mrs. Dukakis' personal story helps the reader be less fearful of shock treatments. I have also read another great book about a new FDA approved therapy for depression called "Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression" by Charles E. Donovan with inspiring forwards by John Zakecka, M.D. of Rush Medical and Nancy Williger, Ph.D.

The more weapons we have to fight this dreadful disease the better. Many thanks to Mrs. Dukakis.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, September 21, 2006
This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
My hat is off to Kitty for sharing this very personal struggle and experience with ECT. She is a very brave and strong woman and tremendously inspiring. Larry Tye has collected and reported more facts and information about ECT then I have found so far, in an unbias way. This is a good resource that provides information for anyone considering ECT treatment should and needs to know, pro's and con's, benefits and risks, fact and fiction, in order to make a truly informed decision whether ECT is an option for them.

For anyone with a desire to learn more about ECT and certainly EVERYONE thinking about having ECT, this is a good book to read. The book fills a void that was despritely needed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for individual mental health library, August 9, 2013
By 
Paul Cumming (San Diego County) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Shock (Paperback)
I had successful ECT in 2011. I don't talk about it, but when I do people share their successes, or their friends and relatives.
Occasionally someone has had a bad experience. The activists who are anti-ECT make it sound like we all have bad experience, not so!

This book is so well written that I've bought about 5 copies. When someone is considering ECT I am quick to lend out a copy. It is essential to be well informed.
Larry Tye is such a talented write, it is a joy reading and he is very balanced. Individual stories are told, both good and bad.

Kitty did something to set the standard for all mental health presenters. She made 100% of her medical records available to Larry Tye. He is an experienced medical writer, in the past for the Boston Globe, and now conducts an annual fellowship for medical journalist called the Health Coverage Fellowship. If there was anyone capable to look at Kitty's records and co-author her journey to ECT, it is Larry.

I was fortunate to meet Michael and Kitty as a result of my story being on page 135. They are so busy, really amazing people. Both Michael and Kitty give various presentations. Kitty is a supporter of the US setting high standards for ECT facilities. I'm sure most already meet this criteria, but she wants to make sure each patient gets the best care available. She also advocates for patients being told in the beginning of their treatment about ECT as one of possible treatments along with medications, CBT, DBT, etc. She was not told about ECT until long after she had treatment resistant depression. Finally a doctor recommended she may want to try, she did, it worked and she is doing excellent with a schedule most of us could do without exhaustion.

Michael does his political presentations but during the talks he mentions Kitty and mentions for those that choose ECT it could be lifesaving. They have plenty of examples of where it has worked, from Kitty and myself to others in her book. Then there are they many that tell them during their presentations. Michael is a remarkable supporter of treatment availability for the mentally ill. If I am at his presentation he let's the audience know there is an advocate in the room and acknowledges me.

The take home message is please buy the book, have it handy in case someone you know, or yourself, is considering ECT. A tip: read it while well, as during depression some tasks like reading are difficult if even possible. There is nothing better than full disclosure and example of people using a modality, Kitty and Larry did such a good job with their book that here I am writing a such a long review I've got to stop before I write a book, about their book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ECT and my fears., September 13, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Shock (Paperback)
My psychiatrist has suggested ECT for me and recomended this book to me. It is an interesting book, but did not do much to calm my fears. I would still recomend the book, especially to family members of anyone considering ECT, it might help them better understand what happens.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, October 5, 2006
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This review is from: Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Hardcover)
This book is excellent--it shares a personal experience, and also provides recent data regarding ECT. I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from severe depression or knows anyone who does.
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Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy
Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy by Kitty Dukakis (Hardcover - September 14, 2006)
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