Treating Depression with Electroconvulsive Therapy

mcfadden-moMaureen McFadden, a two time Emmy Award winning journalist, at WNDU.  In November 2007, she documented a winning medical series called Rewiring the Brain. 

  See part of the Emmy award winning story on a local man’s path to a better life in the series “Rewiring the Brain.”

I am sharing my response to Ms. McFadden with you, my friends, colleagues, and community, because I choose you for company.  Thank you for that.

Hello Ms. McFadden,

Thank you so much for your work increasing community awareness of ECT and diminishing social stigma.  Thank you for having a life-work, such as this, for obtaining a powerful voice that people want to listen to, and doing what you have done to get attention.  Your influence, hard-earned, is collateral and that you spent it “here” is huge.  I am so grateful.
I am a psychiatrist.  It is difficult for me to work with these, community awareness and social stigma.  I am not special in this difficult experience, of course, and I know that the bummer feeling that I am “alone” in it is a distortion.  Thank you for your company and illuminating presence.  Keep on.
Sana Johnson-Quijada MD

8 thoughts on “Treating Depression with Electroconvulsive Therapy

  1. Thanks for sharing your correspondence with us. She has made a difference as you have. I belong to NAMI and know many feel alone but that is just not so. Reaching out is necessary for both patients and professionals.

    Take good care, Sana! Feel empowered. 🙂

      • I have spoken about NAMI to my church in their magnificent attempt to defeat stigma. I joined and get newsletters giving me info about people who feel less alone for speaking out. NAMI VOICE is one way people who have mental illness share with others their journey out of darkness and illness to the other side of stability and managing their illness.

          • Sana, it was many years ago. I will think on this. IF I saved any notes they are hidden far away.

            Thanks, for the offer though. I’ll let you know. Right now I am in TX visiting my sister and talking at the Retired Teachers Assoc and also the Story-time
            at the library on Wednesday not to return home in VA till Thursday to even begin looking for notes.

            I will not forget. Thanks so much for asking. 🙂

  2. Dear Doc Sana,

    Apparently you are a compassionate, understanding and knowledgeable psychiatric practitioner and willing to do what it takes to help your patients.

    ECT is a viable treatment option to be considered by the patient in collaboration with one’s trusted and knowledgeable attending physician. What does bother me though is the fact when discussing ECT too much of the literature plays down the potential for serious side-effects affecting both cognition and memory. After many, many years Dr. Harold Sackeim of Columbia finally issued an investigative report acknowledging these two serious side-effects.

    Also absent from much of the literature is the fact that there are also no guarantees of response or efficacy to ECT or for that matter most all psychiatric therapies especially for those most difficult treatment resistant patients who may have suffered for decades from MDD.

    As a very, very long-time mental health advocate and activist as well as a support person and health care advocate for my spouse and knowing that which I do today I would opine to consider some of the newer neuro-modulation therapies such as rTMS or VNS before one considers ECT that is unless the patient is experiencing unabated suicidal ideations and planning to act upon those urges. The problem with the aforementioned therapies is the difficulty obtaining health insurance reimbursement as the therapies are pricey.


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