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Electroconvulsive Therapy - Saving a Life, Restoring Hope

Dr. Irfan Handoo

While typically used for more mature adult patients or seniors who suffer from debilitating and profound depression, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), under the right circumstances, can be used successfully for younger adults. Such was the case recently with Catherine C., a patient of Dr. Irfan Handoo.

Catherine, who at the time of treatment was eighteen years old and not yet out of high school, came to the attention of Dr. Handoo. She presented as a significantly depressed young women who had in her own words “completely shut down” from the world. She had become acutely suicidal and was too severely depressed to attend school (could not even be home schooled). Things culminated in late 2013 when Catherine ingested “several bottles of pills” and walked out in the woods near her home, determined not to return alive.

Following her initial meeting with Dr. Handoo, a Medical Staff leadership meeting was called to review the prospects of treating such a young patient with ECT. Following significant discussion, and given Catherine’s history unresponsiveness to numerous previous efforts to relive her depression through medication or talk therapy, it was determined that she would be a good candidate for ECT, despite her youth.

As a result of the ECT treatment Catherine has improved dramatically. Her depression and suicidal thoughts have completely resolved.  Today, she states she has no symptoms of depression at all, along with no short-term memory side effects from ECT. Catherine recently stated that this is the happiest she has ever been.   She now looks forward to going to college to study traditional animation, as well to be able to travel throughout the world.

According to Dr., Handoo, "Her courage in battling through depression has been remarkable. Her family feels that ECT helped save her life.  Catherine and her family are very thankful to the wonderful ECT nurses at Research Psychiatric Center who helped guide her back on the road to recovery."  And finally from Catherine herself; “I had no idea that life could be this good. Life is a lot bigger now”

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