Books for Patients

by Kitty Dukakis and Larry Ty

Kitty Dukakis has battled debilitating depression for more than twenty years. Coupled with drug and alcohol addictions that both hid and fueled her suffering, Kitty?s despair was overwhelming. She tried every medication and treatment available; none worked for long. It wasn?t until she tried electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, that she could reclaim her life. Kitty?s dramatic first-person account of how ECT keeps her illness at bay is half the story of Shock. The other half, by award winning medical reporter Larry Tye, is an engrossing look at the science behind ECT and its dramatic yet subterranean comeback. This book presents a full picture of ECT, analyzing the treatment?s risks along with its benefits. ECT, it turns out, is neither a panacea nor a scourge but a serious option for treating life threatening and disabling mental diseases, like depression, bipolar disorder, and others.

Through Kitty Dukakis's moving narrative, and interviews with more than one hundred other ECT patients, Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy separates scare from promise, real complications from lurid headlines. In the process Shock offers practical guidance to prospective patients and their families, boldly addressing the controversy surrounding ECT and awakening millions to its capacity to heal.

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Will I Ever Be the Same Again? Transforming the Face of ECT (Shock Therapy)

by Carol A. Kivler

Carol A. Kivler, MS, CSP, President of Kivler Communications and founder of Courageous Recovery, is a speaker, motivator, training consultant, executive coach, and author. She shares her journey of recovery from four bouts of medication-resistant depression and her positive experience with life-saving ECT (shock therapy) through speeches, workshops, books ("Will I Ever Be The Same Again"), her blog ( and the Courageous Recovery website ( Her mission is to dispel the myths and stigma surrounding mental illness and to inspire hope that recovery is not only possible but likely for those who receive treatment. Her warm, down-to-earth presentations are informative and uplifting.

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Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope

by Julie K. Hersh

Awarded the Mental Health America Ruth Altschuler Community Advocate Prism Award and selected as one of the 2010 Distinguished Women by Northwood University, Julie Hersh is an outspoken advocate for mental health. "Despite medical advances," Julie says, "too many people die by suicide because they are afraid to seek help." Julie's goal is to provide a living example that mental illness is a manageable disease. Her website provides updated information on speaking engagements. Her Struck by Living blog is featured on the Psychology Today website. Julie is also a guest blogger for "Say No to Stigma" for Menninger Clinic.

After earning her BBA at the University of Notre Dame, Hersh worked in high-tech product development and marketing/sales in Silicon Valley. She "retired" from a lucrative sales management position after the birth of her first child. A long-time member of the Cooper Center, Hersh ran her second marathon at age 50. Julie is a board member of Southwestern Medical Foundation, Dallas Theater Center and Dallas Museum of Art, on the advisory council for Mental Health America of Greater Dallas and active supporter of the Suicide and Crisis Center, CONTACT and other non-profit organizations. She lives with her husband and two children in Dallas. Texas.

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3,000 Pulses Later

by Martha Rhodes

3,000 Pulses Later describes how Martha Rhodes, a successful advertising executive, wife, and mother with a seemingly ideal life succumbed to depression and overdosed on Xanax and alcohol in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. The memoir describes her challenges with untreated, drug-resistant depression and her struggle to find an alternative to the medications that failed to relieve her symptoms.

After a grueling stay in a psychiatric ward and many months of trial-and-error medications, Rhodes pursued TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation—the FDA cleared, safe, and proven-effective therapy alternative.

3,000 Pulses Later shares how the road back to health with TMS returned her to an even better place than where she started. She now manages her depression with TMS therapy and without the side effects attributable to antidepressant medications.

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Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface

by Martha Manning

This is the memoir of an ordinary woman—a mother, a daughter, a psychologist, a wife—who tells the tale of her spiraling descent into a severe, debilitating depression. Undercurrents pioneers a new literature about women and depression that offers a vision of action instead of victimhood, hope instead of despair.

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Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

by Andy Behrman

Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornadolike rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.

Ignoring his crescendoing illness, Behrman struggled to keep up appearances, clinging to the golden-boy image he had cultivated in his youth. But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn’t have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and tranquilizers and feeling his mind lose traction, he opted for the last resort: electroshock therapy.

At once hilarious and harrowing, Electroboy paints a mesmerizing portrait of a man held hostage by his in-satiable desire to consume. Along the way, it shows us the New York that never sleeps: a world of strip clubs, after-hours dives, and twenty-four-hour coffee shops, whose cheap seductions offer comfort to the city’s lonely souls. This unforgettable memoir is a unique contribution to the literature of mental illness and introduces a writer whose energy may well keep you up all night.

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by Beverley Callard

Beverley Callard has been loved by millions of viewers for the last 20 years in her role as feisty Rovers Return landlady Liz McDonald on Coronation Street. But behind the scenes her roller coaster life has been even more colorful than her character's. She has suffered from crippling depression, been divorced three times, and has had to start from scratch following infidelity and bankruptcy. But every time she's been knocked down, Beverley has struggled through and steadfastly rebuilt her life. And it is that determination to cope with whatever life throws at her that has made Beverley's story one of inspiration to women everywhere. She's now ready to tell it for the first time. From growing up in Leeds, coping with family tragedy, and marrying for the first time just after her 17th birthday, Beverley's childhood was tough at times, but she was always surrounded by the love and laughter of her family. Beverley talks candidly about the devastating impact of her three broken marriages and describes the happiness she has now found with her wonderful partner Jon. In this intimate and moving autobiography, Beverley reveals a life of extraordinary highs—the wonderful times she's had wearing the shortest skirts on the Street!—as well as devastating lows. Heartfelt, funny, and shockingly honest, Unbroken is the gripping story of a truly remarkable woman.

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Shock Therapy: A History of Electroconvulsive Treatment in Mental Illness

by Professor Edward Shorter

Shock therapy is making a comeback today in the treatment of serious mental illness. Despite its reemergence as a safe and effective psychiatric tool, however, it continues to be shrouded by a longstanding negative public image, not least due to films such as the classic One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, where the inmate of a psychiatric clinic (played by Jack Nicholson) is subjected to electro-shock to curb his rebellious behavior. Beyond its vilification in popular culture, the stereotype of convulsive therapy as a dangerous and inhumane practice is fuelled by professional posturing and public misinformation. Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, has in the last thirty years been considered a method of last resort in the treatment of debilitating depression, suicidal ideation, and other forms of mental illness. Yet, ironically, its effectiveness in treating these patients would suggest it as a frontline therapy, bringing relief from acute symptoms and saving lives.

In this book, Edward Shorter and David Healy trace the controversial history of ECT and other "shock" therapies. Drawing on case studies, public debates, extensive interviews, and archival research, the authors expose the myths about ECT that have proliferated over the years. By showing ECT's often life-saving results, Shorter and Healy endorse a point of view that is hotly contested in professional circles and in public debates, but for the nearly half of all clinically depressed patients who do not respond to drugs, this book brings much needed hope.

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by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, became an icon when she starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Her star-studded career includes roles in numerous films such as The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally. She is the author of five bestselling novels, Wishful Drinking, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, The Best Awful, and Postcards from the Edge, which was made into a hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Fisher's experience with addiction and mental illness--and her willingness to speak honestly about them--have made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate.

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Is ECT Right for You?: A "Friend to Yourself" Resource

by Sana Johnson-Quijada

Few medical specialties gather as many opinions as psychiatry. And few medical treatments within psychiatry draw so many frothing opinions as electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. But is there truth to the stigmas? Dr. Sana Johnson-Quijada pulls back the curtain to explore the realities of ECT: what it is, how it works, and why it is a valid treatment option for people who are suffering.

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