In this episode of the Depression Files Podcast, Sarah Price Hancock explores the history of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the science of electrical injury.
She shares her experience with misdiagnosis, overmedication, excessive involuntary ECT, and current struggles to access comprehensive assessments, medical care and rehabilitation for long term sequelae of electrical injury.
A PERPLEXING MEDICAL CONDITION
Sarah’s ECT journey began with delusions and hallucinations caused by undiagnosed fungal hepatic encephalopathy.
ONE DIAGNOSIS LEADS TO ANOTHER
Subsequent psychoactive medication trials would lead to drug-induced akathisia, misdiagnosed agitated catatonia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar-type catatonia, and treatment-resistant depression.
17 YEARS OF PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT
Desperate to be free from terrifying sensations and graphic hallucinations she diligently followed her doctor’s guidance.
Sarah was cycled through 37 different combinations of 5 to 7 classes of medications during the long course of treatment.
ECT REFERRAL FOR TREATMENT-RESISTANT DEPRESSION (TRD)
Psychiatrists told Sarah’s parent’s electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was her only hope after she failed to respond to aggressive drug treatment.
She was given 116 ECT treatments from 2002 to 2009.
QUITTING ECT AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE
Sarah quit shock therapy against a medical device after being unable to remember family members’ faces and losing the ability to read.
With hard work, research, and social support Sarah was able to identify underlying health conditions, address her health issues and rehabilitate herself and start a life.
Long-term ECT side effects caught up with Sarah.
She now lives with a chronic degenerative illness impacting her ability to walk, talk, and breathe.
She continues to fight for comprehensive medical care while researching ECT.
She strives to educate and advocate for patient safety through her Audit ECT campaign and other works.