Phil discusses his ECT treatment.

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After Phil's suicide attempt, he was committed to a psychiatric unit for two and half months. While under lockdown, Phil's safety was the number-one priority. Doctors didn't let him have access to medication, sharp objects or sheets.

"It was the darkest, deepest, most horrific time I could ever imagine in my life," Phil says.

Psychotherapy and medication didn't seem to be helping, so doctors recommended that Phil undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This procedure isn't like the shock treatments from the '30s and '40s, Phil says.

During an ECT treatment, electrodes are placed on either side of the patient's head. Then, doctors administer an electric charge, which induces a seizure in the brain. This helps change the chemical makeup of the brain and release chemicals that act as natural antidepressants.

Dr. Saltz says the seizures caused by ECT treatments help the brain start over again. "[It's] kind of like your computer rebooting your hard drive," she says.
FROM: Stars Pull Back the Veil on Depression
Published on January 01, 2006